Some Strange Corners of Our Country: The Wonderland of the Southwest

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Century, 1892 - Grand Canyon (Ariz.) - 270 pages
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Lummis's prose portraits of the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Montezuma Castle, and other sites reflect the author's knowledge of Southwest anthropology and history.

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Page 17 - Some one said that all that was needed to perfect this scene was a Niagara Falls. I thought what figure a fall 150 feet high and 3000 long would make in this arena. It would need a spy-glass to discover it. An adequate Niagara here should be at least three miles in breadth, and fall 2000 feet over one of these walls. And the Yosemite — ah ! the lovely Yosemite ! Dumped down into this wilderness of gorges and mountains, it would take a guide who knew of its existence a long time to find it.
Page 17 - Those who have long and carefully studied the Grand Canon of the Colorado do not hesitate for a moment to pronounce it by far the most sublime of all earthly spectacles.
Page 50 - All the other active participants are still in their room, going through their mysterious preparations. Just before sunset is the invariable time for the dance. "Long before the hour the housetops and the edges of the court are lined with an expectant throng of spectators: the earnest Moquis, a goodly representation of the Navajos, whose reservation lies just east, and a few white men. At about...
Page 259 - A Pueblo town is the children's paradise. The parents are fairly ideal in their relations to their children. They are uniformly gentle, yet never foolishly indulgent. A Pueblo child is almost never punished, and almost never needs to be. Obedience and respect to age are born in these brown young Americans, and are never forgotten by them. I never saw a "spoiled child" in all my long acquaintance with the Pueblos—save a few returned from government schools.
Page 153 - About midway of the stream's course under the bridge is the Great Basin — a pool which would be a wonder anywhere. It is a solid rock bowl, some seventy-five feet in diameter and ninety in depth ; and so transparent that a white stone rolled down the strange natural trough over one hundred feet long in the side of the basin can be seen in all its bubbling course to the far bottom of that chilly pool.
Page 55 - ... At last all rush together at the foot of the dance rock and throw all their snakes into a horrid heap of threatening heads and buzzing tails. I have seen that hillock of rattlesnakes a foot high and four feet across. For a moment the dancers leap about the writhing pile, while the sacred corn meal is sprinkled. Then they thrust each an arm into that squirming mass, grasp a number of snakes, and go running at top speed to the four points of the compass.
Page 63 - Eagle feathers are of sovereign value; and in many of the pueblos great dark captive eagles are kept to furnish the coveted articles for most important occasions. If the bird of freedom were suddenly exterminated now, the whole Indian economy would come to a standstill. No witches could be exorcised, nor sickness cured, nor much of anything else accomplished. Dark feathers, and those in particular of the owl, buzzard, woodpecker, and raven, are unspeakably accursed. No one will touch them except...
Page 269 - Having disposed of all the points, . . . the court deems it not improper to indulge in some reflections on this interesting case. The history of this painting, its obscure origin, its age, and the fierce contest which these two Indian pueblos have carried on, bespeak the inappreciable value which is placed upon it. The intrinsic value of the oil, paint, and cloth by which San Jose is represented to the senses, it has been admitted in argument, probably would not exceed twenty-five cents; but this...
Page 49 - Dance-rock — a natural pillar, about fourteen feet high, left by water wearing upon the rock floor of the mesa's top. Midway from this to the north end of the court has been constructed the kee-si, or sacred booth of cottonwood branches, its opening closed by a curtain.
Page 46 - ... and these quiet mousers keep down the little pests much more effectively than a cat, for they can follow shee-id-deh to the ultimate corner of his hole. But while all snakes are to be treated well, the Pueblo holds the rattlesnake actually sacred. It is, except the pichucttdte (a real asp), the only venomous reptile in the southwest, and the only one dignified by a place among the

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