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Forest, Lake and Prairie
Chapter XXXIII
Another big meeting - Move camp - Sunday service all day.


ANOTHER even larger gathering took place in the evening, when father again addressed the motley crowd through Peter, and the interest deepened. The days were spent by the missionaries in a succession of services and councils.

On Saturday the whole camp moved some twelve or fifteen miles farther east into a still more picturesque and beautiful country, rich in its changing variety of landscape and scenery.

No wonder these aboriginal men are proud of their birthright, for it is indeed a goodly heritage.

To witness this large camp moving was to me an object of great interest—the taking down of tents, the saddling and packing of horses and packing of dogs. Both horses and dogs pulled a sort of vehicle made of poles, termed in this country "travois," and thus they both packed and pulled. To these "travois" the lodge-poles were fastened by the small end and drawn along the ground. Many of the children and the aged and the sick were carried on the "travois." Indeed, the carrying and pulling capacity of an Indian pony seemed to be unlimited. Two or three children and a lot of lodge-poles on the "travois," and the mother and a couple more children on the horse's back, and the staunch little fellow ambled along at a quick step, without any trouble or fuss.

When the camp moved, parallel columns were formed and all kept together, the riders and hunters keeping on either side and in front and in the rear.

In an incredibly short time the whole camp was in motion, and after we came to the spot selected for our new camp-ground, in a very little while tents were up, and stages standing, and meat drying, and work going on as at the other camp. In fact, were it not for the lay of the country one could imagine that the whole village had been lifted from yonder to here without disturbing anything.

Long practice and generations of nomadic life had trained the people to constant moving.

They were "itinerants" even more than the Methodist ministry.

Sunday was a special day. The chief's influence and the presence of the missionaries caused the day to be respected by all, irrespective of creed; and prayer meetings, and preaching, and song services were continued all day, and manifest interest was shown by the people.


 


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