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PREFACE.

The history of the aboriginal races of the American Continent is an interesting study, not only to the people of this Union, but also to those of other lands, who regard them as the congeners of the nomadic hordes, which in times long past swarmed over the plains of now civilized Europe. In many respects there is a very close resemblance between the characters and final fate of all the primitive tribes and nations of the world — their mode of government, habits, customs, &c., being somewhat similar — and their recession before the onward march of civilization, as well as their final absorption or disappearance, following an inexorable natural law, which decrces the submission of the animal to intellectual development. From the study of past events alone can an opinion be formed of the causes which gave origin to them, and for this reason

should

every American citizen, who desires to understand the true history of his country, peruse with attention the records of the former owners of that soil, which ere long will no more give sustenance to any of their descendants.

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No ordinary. task is it for the faithful chronicler to trace the history of a people who have no written annals, and no written language; whose only records are of a pictographic character; and whose traditions are so vague and unconnected as to be very unreliable. Such are the difficulties he has to encounter anterior to the discovery of America by Columbus; and even subsequent to that period, owing to the unsettled condition of the country until within the last half century, years of research and comparison are rendered necessary in order to reconcile conficting statements, and unravel the tangled web of confused narratives. Believing, however, that the end to be attained,—that of giving to the world a reliable history of the Indians of the North American

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