#15 Suicide among Sioux Women
     (John Bradbury, 1809-1811)

Although the squaws are very ill treated by all Indians, it is said they are treated much worse by the Sioux than any other tribe, whence it follows that mothers frequently destroy their female children, alleging as a reason, that it is better they should die than continue a life so miserable as that to which they are doomed. Amongst the Sioux women, it is also said, suicide is not unfrequent, and the mode which they adopt to put an end to their existence, is, by hanging themselves. They are of opinion that suicide is displeasing to the father of life, and believe it will be punished in the land of spirits by their ghosts being doomed for ever to drag the tree on which they hung themselves: for this reason they always suspend themselves to as small a tree as can possibly sustain their weight.

[# 15] The Sioux: John Bradbury, Travels in the Interior of America in the Years 1809, 1810, and 1811. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1986, p. 109.


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