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Rock Writing or Muzzinabikon

Rock Writing or Muzzinabikon: The application of picture-writing among the Native American tribes to record transactions in their daily life. From its first or simple drawings in the inscription of totems and memorials on grave-posts, through the various methods adopted to convey information on sheets of bark, scarified trees, and other substances, and through the institutions and songs of the Meda, and the Wabeno societies, the mysteries of the Jeesukawin, the business of hunting, and the incidents of war and affection. It remains only to consider their use in an historical point of view, or in recording, in a more permanent form than either of the preceding instances, such transactions in the affairs of a wandering forest life as appear to them to have demanded more labored attempts to preserve.

Walam Olum, Tribal Chronicle

Walam Olum. The sacred tribal chronicle of the Lenape or Delawares. The name signifies ‘painted tally’ or ‘red score,’ from walam, ‘painted,’ particularly ‘red painted,’ and olum,’ a score or tally.’ The Walam Olum was first published in 1836 in a work entitled “The American Nations,” by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, an erratic French scholar, who spent a number of years in this country, dying in Philadelphia in 1840. He asserted that it was a translation of a manuscript in the Delaware language, which was an interpretation of an ancient sacred metrical legend of the tribe, recorded in pictographs cut upon wood, which had been obtained in 1820 by a Dr Ward from the¬†Delawares then living in Indiana. He claimed that the original pictograph record had first been obtained, but without explanation, until two years later, when the accompanying songs were procured in the Lenape language from another individual, these being then translated by himself with the aid of various dictionaries. Although considerable doubt was cast at the time upon the alleged Indian record, Brinton, after a critical investigation, arrived at the conclusion that it was a genuine native production, and it is now known that similar ritual records upon wood or birch bark are common to several cognate tribes, notably the Chippewa. After the death of Rafinesque his manuscripts were scattered, those of the Walam Olum finally coming into the hands of Squier, who again brought the legend to public attention in a paper read before the New York Historical Society in 1848, which was published in the American Review of Feb. 1849, reprinted by Beach in his Indian...

Symbols of Hunting in Pictography

Keossawin, or Hunting Pictography: A similar virtue is believed to be exerted, if but the figure of the animal sought be drawn on wood or bark, and afterwards submitted to the efficacious influences of the magic medicine, and the incantation. Pictographs of such drawings are frequently carried about by the hunter, to avail himself of their influence, or of the means of becoming more perfect in the mystical art, by intercommunication with other and distant Indians. These figures are often drawn on portable objects of his property, such as implements of hunting, canoes, utensils, or rolls of lodge-barks, or sheathing.

Indian Pictographs

Indian Pictographs: Observations on the Pictographic Method of Communicating Ideas by Symbolic and Representative Devices of the North American Indians. Pictorial and symbolical Representations constitute one of the earliest observed traits in the Customs and Arts of the American Indians. This Art found to assume a systematic Form, among the rude Hunter Tribes of North America, in the year 1820, when it was noticed on the Source of the Mississippi. This Instance given, with a Drawing. The Hint pursued.

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