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Sioux Lovemaking

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Although the Sioux Indian is, under all other circumstances, as stoical as a stone, his heart softens under the touch of love, and he is as romantic in his courtship as the most sentimental Caucasian. The old custom of selling a maíden to her lover by her father has fallen into disrepute, ït is one of the Bavage customs successfully eradicated by missionary teachers. In those days a squaw was considered a beast of burilen, while her condition is now ïnuch improved. There are two characteristic methods of Sioux courtship commonly practiced, though it must be admitted that with the gradrial education of the young men and women in the schools there is an apparent tendency to ape the ways of their white brothers and sisters and to consume the fuel of their parents in the pursuance of their lovemaking, but with those from whose natures it seems impossible to eradicate the traits of their f oref athers the customs f ollowed by their ancestora are still comme il faut, and to these they stubbornly adhere. Bation day is seized upon by these "true Indians" for lovemaking, and the sport of it is as heartily enjoyed by the old aa by the young. When a brave finds upon the agency grounds the maiden of his choice, he manifests his preference for her by taking the blanket from his shoulders and stretching it oui before him, rushing at her with the intention of throwing it over her head and shoulder. If the brave doesn't succeed in capturing the girl at the first attempt, he tries again and persists in his efïorts until he is satisfled by her action that his suit is not approved. If his advances are favored, the maiden, af ter a brief period coquetry, allows the blanket to settle over her head, and thus enveloped she listens as well as she can to a verbal accounting of his deeds of prowess as a hunter, of his possessions in ponies and skins, and the low chanting of a song in which he pledges his love eternally. If after listening to this the maiden is still willing to become his squaw, she tells him so. The blanket is .removed from her shoulders and together they go to the maiden's parents, or, if they are dead, to her nearest relatives, to whom they declare their desire. The match is speedily sanctioned, and when they leave the agency the bride carries on her shoulders a portion of her husband's rations. There is less romance in this method of winning a wife than in the custom of woeing with the aid of a ñute. Such a courtship as this must be carried on in the spring when the sap is running in the trees, for only at this time can the wooer make his tuneful instrument. The manufacture of a fkite is not a diffieult piece of work. A section of willow or any other wood with a smooth bark is chosen. It must be about 1D inches long and half an inch in diameter. With a smooth stick this piece of wood is vigorously rubbed until the bark bas been loosened on the wood. It is then twisted off. A row of holes is cut through the bark, and it is when completed exactly like a fife, though less shrill in tone. The brave invariably chooses a pleasant night for his lovemaking. When the conditions are favorable, he locates himself a short distance from the tepee in which the object of his affection is sleeping and blows on his bark ñute a weird chant, probably an impromptu composition. Of course the sound of the flute attracts the attention of the people in the village, who gather around the ardent swain and indulge in good natured badinage at his expense. If he is a true lover and a desirable man for a husband, he will continue his playing, indifferent to the presence of his tormentors. The test sometimes lasts two hours before the father of the maiden who is thus being wooed issues from the tepee and ascertains who the serenader is. He reports to his daughter, and if she approves the suitor she goes forth to meet him and leads him to her tepee for the sanction of her parents. If she doesn't approve the man, she tells her father to dismiss him, which he does, and the unsuccessful lover disconsolately pockets his flute and leaves, followed by the jeers of the crowd. It not infrequently occurs that the lovemaker is unable to keep his temper while the crowd is rallying him. He sometimes even throws down his flute and attacks his persecutors. Such a manifestation, is considered an evidence of bad taste and indicating a defect in the wooer's character. It is useless for tho unfortunate fellow to press his suit further after such a breach of etiquette. Sioux parents of a marriageable daughter use a good deal of diplomacy in disposing of her hand in marriage. They are always ambitious to find a husband who has considerable wealth, for according to tribal law they are entitled to a certain portion of the possessions of i ie son-hvlaw. It sometimes happens that the hand of the same maiden is sought by several braves. When this is the case, the will of the father rises superior to that of the daughter, and she is compelled to consider his choice, which he does not make until he has excited a lively bidding among them for his daughter's favors. Needless to say she usually goes to the man who has the greatest amount of


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