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MICHIGAN

THE OLD INDIAN DOCTOR

They were greatly delighted with circuses. Shooting matches and foot races they took a great interest in. 4th. How they traded with the white man? The trade with the Indian at that early day was mainly an exchange (or, as they called it "swap") of their furs, venison, dressed deer skins, moccasins, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, etc., for flour, salt, tobacco, powder, lead, sugar and all the articles that the Indians use to clothe themselves. I never knew an Indian to offer to sell to white people any part of the carcass of a deer except the ham. The price for a ham of venison was always two shillings; no more, no less, no matter how small or large it was. Whenever we sold a squaw any' goods that had to be made up into any of their garments a needle and thread for each garment must be given; only the goods for one garment would be bought or swapped for at a time. It required a good knowledge of their ways and much patience to be a successful dealer with the Indians. We frequently sold them goods on credit, and found them about the same kind of paymasters as the ordinary white man; some paid promptly, some after a long time, and some never paid. They would have been splendid customers if they had been blessed with plenty of money; but they were poor and thriftless, and I may with truth say a "vagabond race" and consequently their trade was of no great value. They received an annual payment from government, which was mainly in necessary goods for their use and comfort, and a small amount of silver money. The money was very soon gone and in most cases did them no good, but the goods furnished them by government were just what they needed, and added greatly to their comfort. In regard to personal characteristics of any noted Indian, etc., I would say that the best specimen of an Indian that I ever saw in those early days was Sag-a-maw, the chief of all the Pottawattomies in and about Kalamazoo county.

Michigan Indians


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