Plate XXXIV. First-Born Children Sacrificed with Solemn Ceremonies
Their custom is to offer up the first-born son to the chief. When the day for the sacrifice is announced to the chief, he proceeds to a place set apart for the purpose, where there is a bench for him, on which he takes his seat. In the middle of the area before him is a wooden stump two feet high, and as many thick, before which the mother sits on her heels, with her face covered in her hands, lamenting the loss of her child. The principal one of her female relatives or friends now offers the child to the chief in worship, after which the women who have accompanied the mother form a circle, and dance around with demonstrations of joy, but without joining hands. She who holds the child goes and dances in the middle, singing some praises of the chief. Meanwhile, six Indians, chosen for the purpose, take their stand apart in a certain place in the open area, and midway among them the sacrificing officer, who is decorated with a sort of magnificence, and holds a club. On the completion of the ceremonies, the sacrificer takes the child, and slays it in honor of the chief, before them all, upon the wooden stump. This offering was on one occasion performed in our presence.