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Alphabetical Enumeration of Indian Tribes

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Alphabetical Enumeration

An attempt is made, in the following Table, to locate the various bands of Aborigines, ancient and modern, and to convey the best information respecting their numbers our multifarious sources will warrant. Modern writers have been, for several years, endeavoring to divide North America into certain districts, each of which should include all the Indians speaking the same or dialects of the same, language; but whoever has paid any attention to the subject, must undoubtedly have been convinced that it can never be done with any degree of accuracy. This has been undertaken in reference to an approximation of the great question of the origin of this people, from a comparison of the various languages used among them. An unwritten language easily varied, and there can be no barrier to innovation. A continual intermixing of tribes has gone on from the period of their origin to the present time, judging from what we have daily seen; and when any two tribes unite, speaking different languages, or dialects of  the same, a new dialect is produced by such amalgamation. Hence the accumulation of vocabularies would be like the pursuit of an infinite series in mathematics difference, however–in the one we recede from the object in pursuit, while in the other we approach it. But I would not be understood to speak disparagingly of this attempt at classification; for, if it be unimportant in the main design, it will be of considerable service to the student in Indian history on other accounts. Thus, the Uchees are said to speak a primitive language and they ere districted in a small territory south of the Cherokees; but some 200 years ago,–if they then existed as a tribe, and their tradition be true,–they were bounded on the north by one of the great lakes.  And they are said to be descended from the Shawanees by some of themselves. We know an important community of them is still in existence in Florida.  Have they created a new language in the course of their wanderings?  or have those from whom they separated done so?  Such are the difficulties we meet at every step of a classification. But a dissertation upon these matters cannot now be attempted.

In the following analysis, the names of the tribes have been generally given in the singular number, for the sake of brevity; and the word Indians, after such names is omitted from the same cause. Few abbreviations have been used;–

W.R. west of the Rocky Mountains;
m., miles;
r., river;
l., lake; and perhaps a few others.



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