Pre-civilization races

Pre-civilization races

Recent History

January 1, 1732

Samuel Hearne

Lachesis Lapponica - A Tour in Lapland

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Legendary scientist Carl Linnaeus (von Linne) spent 6 months living with the northern Laplanders in Sweden and witnessed their exclusive meat and dairy diet and happy and healthy demeanor.

I never met with any people who lead such easy happy lives as the Laplanders. In summer they make two meals of milk in the course of the day, and when they have gone through their allotted task of milking their reindeer, or making cheese, they resign themselves to indolent tranquillity, not knowing what to do next. In winter their food is cheese, taken once or twice a day, but in the evening they eat meat. A single reindeer supplies four persons with food for a week.


Such of the male reindeer as are destined to serve for a stock of provision, are killed before the rutting-time, and their carcases hung up to be exposed to the air and frost before flaying. The flesh is smoked and a little salted, and then laid upon sledges to dry in the sun, that it may keep through the winter till spring. About the feast of St. Matthias (Feb. 24.) the reindeer begin to be so incommoded with the gad-fly, that they are not in a fit condition to be slain for eating. From that period therefore, till the milking season, the Laplanders are obliged to live on this stock of preserved meat. At other times of the year the females are killed for immediate use, according as they are wanted. The blood is kept fresh in kegs, or other vessels, and serves for food in the spring, being added to the _välling_, with a small proportion of milk and water. The blood of these animals is thick in consistence, like that of a hog. The Laplanders carry a portion of it along with them from place to place, in bladders or some kind of vessels. A stock of this and all other necessaries is collected as late as possible, before the melting of the snow, while there still remains a track for the sledges. 


A kind of blood pudding or sausage is made, in general without flour, and with a large proportion of fat. This the Laplanders call _marfi_. 


The liver of the reindeer, which is of a considerable bulk, is boiled and eaten fresh. The lungs, being salted and moderately dried, are eaten occasionally, or else given to the dogs. The intestines, which abound with fat, are cut open, washed, and boiled fresh; nor are they unpalatable. The brain and testicles are never eaten.


The people of this country boil their meat in water only, without any addition or seasoning, and drink the broth. _Jumomjölk_ kept for a whole year is delicate eating. Berries of all kinds are boiled in it. Some persons make a practice of boiling those berries by themselves, preserving them afterwards in small tubs, or other wooden vessels. They boil their fish more thoroughly than their meat, over a slow fire, drinking likewise the water in which it has been drest. The meat is never so much boiled as to separate from the bone. Fresh fish is sometimes roasted over the fire. Few people dry and salt it, though that method is sometimes practised. Meat is dried by the air, sun and smoke all together, being hung up in the chimney, or rather hole by which the smoke escapes through the roof. 


The Laplanders never eat of more than one dish at a meal. 


By way of dainty, the women occasionally mix the berries of the Dwarf Cornel (_Cornus suecica_) with _Kappi_ , which is made of whey boiled till it grows as thick as flummery. To this they moreover add some cream. That fruit is entirely neglected in the country of Medelpad. 


In Dalecarlia the people generally keep their cattle up in the mountains, twelve or sixteen miles from their own dwellings, on account of gad-flies and other stinging insects. There they have their dairies, and make cheese. The remaining whey is boiled till two thirds are wasted, when it becomes as thick as flummery. This is sometimes eaten instead of butter, sometimes mixed with dough, or serves for food in various other manners.


The mode of their entertainment is as follows. First, if the stranger arrives before their meat is set over the fire to boil, they present him either with iced milk, or with some kind of berries mixed with milk, or perhaps with cheese, or with _kappi_. Afterwards, when the meat is sufficiently cooked, and they have taken it out of the pot, they put into the water, in which it has been boiled, slices of cheese made of reindeer milk. This is a testimony of hospitality, and that they are disposed to make their guest as welcome as they can. They next serve up some of their dry or solid preparations of milk.


The reindeer are not slaughtered in the same manner as cattle usually are either at Stockholm or in Smoland. The animal being secured with a halter, the Laplander takes his spear and sticks it into the thorax behind the shoulder, so as to pierce the heart. By this means the blood collects in the cavity of the thorax, none of it appearing externally. After the skin is flayed off, the blood is found coagulated in the thorax, from whence it is extracted, and bruised into a soft mass. With this the poorer sort of people make a kind of soup, by boiling along with it the brains of the animal, which the rich do not eat. The testicles are never eaten by any sort of people. The penis serves to make a thong to draw the sledges.


Being exceedingly tired with this walk, I was glad to repose myself here in the desert, while my Finland conductor went in search of my future guide. Nor was I without considerable fears that this man, when he had met with the Laplander, might not be able to find me again. However, about noon he returned, accompanied by a Laplander, who took charge of me, inviting me home to his hut, where he treated me with fish, and fresh water. 


I was afterwards conducted from one Laplander to another, till I came to a part of the river, about twenty-five miles above Lycksele. I shall not dwell on the inconveniences I was obliged to undergo every time we had to seek for any of the Laplanders, while I was quite destitute of provisions. These poor people themselves had, at this season, nothing but fish to eat, as they had not yet begun to slaughter their reindeer, nor to go a fowling; neither had they, as yet, milked any of their reindeer.


The stone and gout are entirely unknown amongst the Laplanders.


I have not heard of a single instance of jaundice.

June 23, 1770

Samuel Hearne

A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772

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Hearne experiences the feasting and famine lifestyle of carnivorous eating while dragging his equipment over the land- and even has to rely on eating raw fish and raw musk oxen to make ends meet, however, he continued in "perfect health"

Beside the inconvenience of being exposed to the open air, night and day, in all weathers, we experienced real distress from the want of victuals. When provisions were procured, it often happened that we could not make a fire, so that we were obliged to eat the meat quite raw; which at first, in the article of fish particularly, was as little relished by my Southern companions as myself.

-- June 1770


Notwithstanding these accumulated and complicated hardships, we continued in perfect health and good spirits; and my guide, though a perfect niggard of his provisions, especially in times of scarcity, gave us the strongest assurance of soon arriving at a plentiful country, which would not only afford us a certain supply of provisions, but where we should meet with other Indians, who probably would be willing to carry part of our luggage. This news naturally gave us great consolation; for at that time the weight of our constant loads was so great, that when Providence threw any thing in our way, we could not carry above two days provisions with us, which indeed was the chief reason of our being so frequently in want.

-- June 23 1770.


From the twentieth to the twenty-third we walked every day near twenty miles, without any other subsistence than a pipe of tobacco, and a drink of water when we pleased: even partridges and gulls, which some time before were in great plenty, and easily procured, were now so scarce and shy, that we could rarely get one; and as to geese, ducks, &c., they had all flown to the Northward to breed and molt.

-- June 1770.


Early in the morning of the twenty-third, we set out as usual, but had not walked above seven or eight miles before we saw three musk-oxen grazing by the side of a small lake. The Indians immediately went in pursuit of them; and as some of them were expert hunters, they soon killed the whole of them. This was no doubt very fortunate; but, to our great mortification, before we could get one of them skinned, such a fall of rain came on, as to put it quite out of our power to make a fire; which, even in the finest weather, could only be made of moss, as we were near an hundred miles from any woods. This was poor comfort for people who had not broke their fast for four or five days. Necessity, however, has no law; and having been before initiated into the method of eating raw meat, we were the better prepared for this repast: but this was by no means so well relished, either by me or the Southern Indians, as either raw venison or raw fish had been: for the flesh of the musk-ox is not only coarse and tough, but smells and tastes so strong of musk as to make it very disagreeable when raw, though it is tolerable eating when properly cooked. The weather continued so remarkably bad, accompanied with constant heavy rain, snow, and sleet, and our necessities were so great by the time the weather permitted us to make a fire, that we had nearly eat to the amount of one buffalo quite raw.

July 22, 1770

Samuel Hearne

A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772

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Hearne's group of Indians hunt musk-oxen and turn it into pemmican for traveling. The pemmican is made by pounding the lean meat and then adding boiled fat. When there was plenty to hunt, they would harvest only the tongues, marrow, and fat.

On the seventeenth, we saw many musk-oxen, several of which the Indians killed; when we agreed to stay here a day or two, to dry and pound some of the carcases to take with us. The flesh of any animal, when it is thus prepared, is not only hearty food, but is always ready for use, and at the same time very portable. In most parts of Hudson's Bay it is known by the name of Thew-hagon, but amongst the Northern Indians it is called Achees.

-- July 22 1770.


To prepare meat in this manner, it requires no farther operation than cutting the lean parts of the animal into thin slices, and drying it in the sun, or by a slow fire, till, after beating it between two stones, it is reduced to a coarse powder.


Théwhagon or Yéwuhikun is the Cree name for meat dried and beaten as above, and it is generally known throughout the fur countries as "pounded meat." When fat is plentiful this shredded dry meat is often packed into a sack made of hide, and boiling fat is poured over and into it. This mixture of dried meat and grease is called pemican.


Having prepared as much dried flesh as we could transport, we proceeded to the Northward; and at our departure left a great quantity of meat behind us, which we could neither eat nor carry away. This was not the first time we had so done; and however wasteful it may appear, it is a practice so common among all the Indian tribes, as to be thought nothing of. On the twenty-second, we met several strangers, whom we joined in pursuit of the deer, &c. which were at this time so plentiful, that we got every day a sufficient number for our support, and indeed too frequently killed several merely for the tongues, marrow, and fat.

-- August 30 1770. 


After we had been some time in company with those Indians, I found that my guide seemed to hesitate about proceeding any farther; and that he kept pitching his tent backward and forward, from place to place, after the deer, and the rest of the Indians. On my asking him his reason for so doing; he answered, that as the year was too far advanced to admit of our arrival at the Coppermine River that Summer, he thought it more advisable to pass the Winter with some of the Indians then in company, and alleged that there could be no fear of our arriving at that river early in the Summer of one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one. As I could not pretend to contradict him, I was entirely reconciled to his proposal; and accordingly we kept moving to the Westward with the other Indians. In a few days, many others joined us from different quarters; so that by the thirtieth of July we had in all above seventy tents, which did not contain less than six hundred persons. Indeed our encampment at night had the appearance of a small town; and in the morning, when we began to move, the whole ground (at least for a large space all round) seemed to be alive, with men, women, children, and dogs. Though the land was entirely barren, and destitute of every kind of herbage, except wish-a-capucca and moss, yet the deer were so numerous that the Indians not only killed as many as were sufficient for our large number, but often several merely for the skins, marrow, &c. and left the carcases to rot, or to be devoured by the wolves, foxes, and other beasts of prey.

September 20, 1770

Helge Ingstad

A Journey from Prince of Wales’ Fort in Hudson’s Bay, to the Northern Ocean . . . in the years 1769, 1770, 1771 and 1772

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A London explorer named Samuel Hearne was tasked with exploring the Northern lands of Canada and failed at his endeavors twice before finally figuring out the secret to traveling long distances overland on a subsistence hunting way of life - According to an Indian named Matonabbee, women were necessary to process the meat and help haul the camp equipment or repair clothing and tools.

In the evening of the twentieth, we were joined from the Westward by a famous Leader, called Matonabbee, mentioned in my instructions; who, with his followers, or gang, was also going to Prince of Wales’s Fort, with furrs, and other articles for trade. This Leader, when a youth, resided several years at the above Fort, and was not only a perfect master of the Southern Indian language, but by being frequently with the Company’s servants, had acquired several words of English, and was one of the men who brought the latest accounts of the Coppermine River; and it was on his information, added to that of one I-dot-le-ezey, (who is since dead,) that this expedition was set on foot.
September 20th 1770.

The courteous behaviour of this stranger struck me very sensibly. As soon as he was acquainted with our distress, he got such skins as we had with us dressed for the Southern Indians, and furnished me with a good warm suit of otter and other skins: but, as it was not in his power to provide us with snow-shoes, (being then on the barren ground,) he directed us to a little river which he knew, and where there was a small range of woods, which, though none of the best, would, he said, furnish us with temporary snow-shoes and sledges, that might materially assist us during the remaining part of our journey. We spent several nights in company with this Leader, though we advanced towards the Fort at the rate of ten or twelve miles a day; and as provisions abounded, he made a grand feast for me in the Southern Indian style, where there was plenty of good eating, and the whole concluded with singing and dancing, after the Southern Indian style and manner. In this amusement my home-guard Indians bore no inconsiderable part, as they were both men of some consequence when at home, and well known to Matonabbee: but among the other Northern Indians, to whom they were not known, they were held in no estimation; which indeed is not to be wondered at, when we consider that the value of a man among those people, is always proportioned to his abilities in hunting; and as my two Indians had not exhibited any great talents that way, the Northern Indians shewed them as much respect as they do in common to those of very moderate talents among themselves.

October 1770.

During my conversation with this Leader, he asked me very seriously, If I would attempt another journey for the discovery of the Copper-mines? And on my answering in the affirmative, provided I could get better guides than I had hitherto been furnished with, he said he would readily engage in that service, provided the Governor at the Fort would employ him. In answer to this, I assured him his offer would be gladly accepted; and as I had already experienced every hardship that was likely to accompany any future trial, I was determined to complete the discovery, even at the risque of life itself. Matonabbee assured me, that by the accounts received from his own countrymen, the Southern Indians, and myself, it was very probable I might not experience so much hardship during the whole journey, as I had already felt, though scarcely advanced one third part of the journey.

He attributed all our misfortunes to the misconduct of my guides, and the very plan we pursued, by the desire of the Governor, in not taking any women with us on this journey, was, he said, the principal thing that occasioned all our wants: “for, said he, when all the men are heavy laden, they can neither hunt nor travel to any considerable distance; and in case they meet with success in hunting, who is to carry the produce of their labour? Women, added he, were made for labour; one of them can carry, or haul, as much as two men can do. They also pitch our tents, make and mend our clothing, keep us warm at night; and, in fact, there is no such thing as travelling any considerable distance, or for any length of time, in this country, without their assistance.” “Women, said he again, though they do every thing, are maintained at a trifling expence; for as they always stand cook, the very licking of their fingers in scarce times, is sufficient for their subsistence.” This, however odd as it may appear, is but too true a description of the situation of women in this country: it is at least so in appearance; for the women always carry the provisions, and it is more than probable they help themselves when the men are not present.


Image: By w:Samuel Hearne, flickr upload by [1] - originally posted to Flickr as A Map of Part of the Inland Country to the Nh Wt of Prince of Wales Fort Hs, By Samuel Hearne 1772 (1969)Uploaded using F2ComButton, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8544311

June 23, 1771

Samuel Hearne

A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772

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Meat, when thus prepared, is not only very portable, but palatable; as all the blood and juices are still remaining in the meat, it is very nourishing and wholesome food; and may, with care, be kept a whole year without the least danger of spoiling.

As Matonabbee and the other Indians thought it advisable to leave all the women at this place, and proceed to the Copper-mine River without them, it was thought necessary to continue here a few days, to kill as many deer as would be sufficient for their support during our absence. And notwithstanding deer were so plentiful, yet our numbers were so large, and our daily consumption was so great, that several days elapsed before the men could provide the women with a sufficient quantity; and then they had no other way of preserving it, than by cutting it in thin slices and drying it in the Sun. Meat, when thus prepared, is not only very portable, but palatable; as all the blood and juices are still remaining in the meat, it is very nourishing and wholesome food; and may, with care, be kept a whole year without the least danger of spoiling. It is necessary, however, to air it frequently during the warm weather, otherwise it is liable to grow mouldy: but as soon as the chill air of the fall begins, it requires no farther trouble till next Summer.

Ancient History

Books

My Sixty Years on the Plains: Trapping, Trading, and Indian Fighting

Published:

January 1, 1905

My Sixty Years on the Plains: Trapping, Trading, and Indian Fighting

My Life with the Eskimo

Published:

January 1, 1913

My Life with the Eskimo

The Friendly Arctic: The Story of Five Years in Polar Regions

Published:

January 1, 1922

The Friendly Arctic: The Story of Five Years in Polar Regions

Kabloona: Among the Inuit

Published:

January 2, 1941

Kabloona: Among the Inuit

Eskimos

Published:

January 1, 1949

Eskimos

Book of the Eskimos

Published:

January 1, 1961

Book of the Eskimos

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Published:

May 26, 2020

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art