morning times, dc, 27 nov 1898

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morning times, dc, 27 nov 1898 - THE ESKIMOS OF ALASKA Witchcraft and...
THE ESKIMOS OF ALASKA Witchcraft and Degradation Prevalent Among Them. FIGHT FOR CIVILIZATION Vfter Trrentj Yearn of Untiring YVorL. il icolcbiuui Urine About a lle-cl.l.-d Ilrfonu HabltM of the luiiultv of Cape Pierce IuterestliiLT Slorj of Chrintliin Cniluior. Lcs Angeles, Nov. 15 The Rev. Daniel W. MaePherson, ot Cape Pierce, Alaska, Is having a season of rest and recuperation recuperation among tlic orange groves and flowers of Southern California, sas The Times. Tor nineteen jears he has lived and worked among the native Known as Innults on the Behrlng Sea coast of Alaska, and now, after cor-stant cor-stant work and privations and hardships that few men would endure voluntarli. he has come down the coast Jnto the soml-troplcs for a rest and a change of sir months. The Improvement In the moral and Industrial conditions of a settlement settlement of more than 0 degraded Eskimos Eskimos at Cape Pierce is the result of almost almost his sole endeavors. Mr. MaePherson Is fort -seven years of age, but looks about thirty-live. He was born. In the subuibs of Edinburgh. Scotland, Scotland, and was a student at the university of that city. He know Robert Louis Stevenson Stevenson there when the two were college bojs. He sub'equi'ntly went to Cambridge Cambridge and took a minor degree as a divinity divinity student. Posseted of ample means, through an Inheritance from an uncle, he resolved to devote his life and fortune to earning civilization and Chrlstlanit to savage races. In 1875, when he was twenty-four, he went as a missionary to South Africa under the auspices of the Christian League of Scotland, but pajlng his own expenses and providing himself for the maintenance of a mission school 50 miles out in the bush from Cape Town. Two j cars of the Intense heat of the Interior Interior of Africa made him a nervous wreck, and, turning his mission school and all Its equipment and appurtenances over to the Christian League, he returned to Scotland, as man friends believed, to die at his birthplace. That was in 1S77. In 1S79 he had recovered his health In the cold Northern climate, and his old-time old-time xeal to alleviate the lot of biroarous people returned Robert Louis Stevenson, who had been in Sin Francisco, met Mr. MacPherson one- dav In London and In the coiirm of u dinner told of the savary of the aborigines In Alaska. Sir. Stevenson Stevenson had lodged In San Francisco with a sea captain who had made a doxen vo-j;i" vo-j;i" to Alaska and had observed the Eskimos Eskimos along the coat Rices unacquainted unacquainted with civilization had a peculiar fascination fascination for Jlr. Stevenson and he regretted regretted thai he had not robust health so that he- couhl go and live among the Alaskan savage Mr. MacPner-on then and thre reafolved to go and spend his life In bringing bringing the bubarous people out of their degradation degradation Four months later he was at Sitka, Alaska, with several thousand dollars' dollars' worth of suuplls and means for missionary effort among a barbarous ih-ple. ih-ple. Some whalers had told him that the !n-hab'tarts !n-hab'tarts of Cape Pierce, up on Bearing Sea were probably th most uncivilized and degraded jieople in all that rcgl n and Mr MaePherson resolved to go there and start upon his missionary labor". Mahlon W Bowers, United States commissioner commissioner in Alaska, did .ill he could to prevail upon the young Scotchman to abindon his Idea. A dozen men in S'tka, who had been on voyages up Beh-lns See, urged Mr. MaePherson to keep away from Cape Pierce because the natives there would surely kill him and posib! eat him Th- said that no more intractab'e. worth uu rice lived than the Innuits, or n-klmos of the coast along Behrlng Sea The to'd of how all the whaling crews went ashore armed and watchful when the had tradiing to do with the Kivagps of that region, and of narrow escapes that even the hard whalers had at Cape Pierc Nevertheless, Mr. MaePherson was determined to make at least an effort effort among the Innuits. The first whirling whirling vessW that came to Sitka on its annual annual voage to the north carried 4he mls-sionar mls-sionar up the coast to Cape Pierce-When Pierce-When tne boxes of provisions. Bibles, pampnlet", clothing and house-hold articles articles were landed on the nore at Cape Piene. the who'c pupulatlon came down to the water's edge. Nothing like that had pit been seen there. With many misgivings and almost tearful warnings the sailors bade the Scotchm in farewell, and sailed awaj to the north They ex-Iiected ex-Iiected that he would be shiln In less than a week It was August, and the spectacle that Mr MaePherson looked upon was disheartening. disheartening. Two score great, clumsy, biark war canoes were hauled up on the shore and covered with language. In a week Mr. MaePherson had a v ocabulary of 100 w ords. Meanw hlle he demonstrated that he meant to bo a good friend to the Innults. In a few weeks word went' forth amons the tribes up and down the coast that a new white man was there, and that he gave away valuable things, and especially that he had a new God, about whom he wished to tell all the Innults. Somo of the older and more suspicious natives were angr at this, but even the most drunken were curious to know what it all meant. When winter came on and the last of the modlka (whisk) which the traders and whalers had left there had been drunk, the mts-slonnr mts-slonnr had learned enough of the native, tongue to settle down to the active work of teaching the savages. He found tho bos In the tribe the best material to work upon. With their help and b means of gifts of clothing and bits of money he got a crude log house built. The chinks were stopped with mud and the door was so low that one had-to bend low to enter. That was the first building In Capo Pierce, nineteen jears ago. It was the home of the white man and was a school for the natives. Tho curiosity of tho people people for more than 100 miles around was aroused by the white man's wonderful log house, and before the summer of 1ES0 even the old men wanted to learn the white man's talk and the way the whle people lived. There were more than twenty bos In the school that ear. When the whalers went up the coast and traded whisky and sugar with the Innults, there was another season of drunken debauchery and a relapse relapse Into savage wajs, but the missionary, missionary, by strenuous efforts, kept the school of bos Intact all summer. With the return return of winter and the disappearance of the last drop of bad whisky, the men nnd women renewed their Interest in the school. The schoolhousc was enlarged the next jear, and the savages hiving become become used to the comfort of the log house began building houses for their own occupancy. occupancy. The chief of tha settlement had a large cabin built near the school, and he became the firm friend of the missionary because of the kilter's labor and Interest In the structure. When Mr. MaePherson had lenrned the Innuit language he -et about getting up text books. For months he patiently printed with a pen simple stories In the native tongue to teach his pupils how to read. He got from some Russian wha'ers text books In Russian. and those were great aids in the line of morjllt and Industry. The old people In the tribe became sullen man times at the teachings of the white man and the upsetting uf all their cherished cherished ideas.. Once he was called to the door of his og cabin on a dark night and was- knocked down with a club and left for dead. Several times he was warned bv a faithful friend not to go about out of doors alone, for there was a plot to throw him from the cliff, and thrice attempts attempts were made to polon him The discouraging work of slowl leading the Innuits of Cape Pierce into the was of clvll-zed jeople went constantl for-wrrd. for-wrrd. The jomhs in the chool were urged to abstain from the use of the In toxicating decoction of molaraes and al- j cchol that the whalers and traders left J there In exchange for Eskimo products 1 ever summer. B promise of pecuniar reward the older men were graduall Indued Indued to abstain from the fiery drink for a w hole season The misslonar) 's mcdl-. mcdl-. cine chest proved a wonder In dispelling J the superstition and witchcraft regarding illness and disease Several cures of savages savages av ho had been given up to die did more than all else to make the brave 1 Scotchman beloved In that region B 1SS1. after live ears of extraordinary t labor, Mr MacPhrxwn began to see a gratlflng change rr. the spirit and con-I con-I duct of the people about him Not a per- on had been killed there for three ian,, , he was consulted b people far and wide, 1 and the Innults had abandoned their caves and dugouts and lived In huts and cabins Morallt had Improved j In the summer of 1SS1 a oung man, Davie Wlsne-. of Toronto, Canada, came .'nd ndded his private fortune and his ef-l ef-l forts to .Mr. MacPherson's From that time the missionary movement went for ward fast In the summer of ISSt "he whalers and traders were Induced to trade with the Indians In provisions, such as hams, bacon, flour, raisins, etc, and not the Ingredients for Intoxicants The drunkenness which had begun annually with the opening of navigation In Behrlng Behrlng Sea, was much diminished from that time forth, although some of the old men and women in the settlement were so J angr at being deprived of their summer , uebaucherj that the plotted the assassi- n , I n if . I. . m t .- f f Mr MaePherson has from the first taught lessons in cleanliness In nerson 'and habitation at Cape Pierce. It ha, neen a nam struggle, for the Innults have from prehistoric times been about as fllthv a race as lives In the first ears tint tne Scotch missionary was there It vi as common for a faml! of parents and dozen children and grandchildren to live In one hovel or dugout in the cliff walrus walrus would be hau'ed from the water Into the low, foul hab'tatfon, and be cooked by a nro on the iloor, part of the body each day, until nil but the bones and hard flesh were consumed The bones would then be pushed aIde, and a new walrus carcass cooked there, while the smell of putrid flesh and foul bones filled tho air dav and night. Now ever famll In Cape Pierce lives In a wooden habitation, and the c'canllness there will compare favorably favorably with that of any reclaimed race. The I j I I I ask-I 1 '

Clipped from Washington Times27 Nov 1898, SunPage 19

Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia)27 Nov 1898, SunPage 19
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