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Ice Cutters

All the tribes of high northern latitudes employ, at the present day, a chisel of iron of peculiar construction, during the winter season, to perforate the ice of the lakes and rivers, for the purpose of fishing and taking beaver. This instrument replaces in the history of their customs, a horn, which their ancestors used for the same purpose. The practice prevails particularly among the lake tribes, who rely much on fish for their subsistence, and reaches so far south as north latitude 40°, and as far inland as the streams and waters become permanently frozen.

The ancient horn consisted of a single prong of the antlers of the deer or elk. This was tied firmly to a handle of wood, four or five feet long. We should not know of this ancient instrument, were it not that the natives call at our government shops for an iron chisel, to perform the same office.

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