Indigenous Simplicity


IN the casual habits and mental behavior of the peoples indigenous to them, the true understanding of the Latin American countries may be found. In the attempt to penetrate the minds of these people observers often make the mistake of looking for complex psychological processes and oblique explanations. But, in looking for the complex, one is brought up against a blank wall of misunderstanding. That way lies exasperation. The secret of understanding these people rests in simplicity, not complexity. Their ideas, their thoughts, their actions, are childishly simple. Like children they give free vent to their emotions; like children their amusement is generally at the expense of someone else’s discomfort; and like children they are often brutal. Again, like most children, they are inherently honest and frank, but sometimes, of course, put their own trivial gratification foremost at unexpected moments. Their utter lack of any ability to comprehend time or distance is essentially childlike, as also their ingenuity in trying to circumvent difficulties and save labor, generally resulting in greater difficulties and added labor.

Habit and custom among such people, as with children, become surprisingly pervasive. There may be a dozen obviously better and simpler ways of doing some common thing, but the man who tries to introduce abruptly new ways or habits soon comes to realize the futility of his attempt. Indeed, force is often required to naturalize an unfamiliar custom. This was well illustrated when vaccination was enforced by the Mexican Government not long ago. Consternation and almost riot ensued among the people. Slavery to custom and apathy toward innovation are expressed aptly in the phrase costumbre del país, ‘custom of the country.’ This has become the stock excuse of the Latin American native for his unwillingness to do anything differently.

United, of course, with this childlike mental behavior are the natural vices and appetites of the adult. These people are incapable of restraint in any form except under duress. The man who is given the opportunity to drink drinks too much and becomes utterly uncontrollable. He may lose himself in blind rage and unmercifully beat his woman and his children. If he has firearms he becomes a menace to life. It is surprising to find that in Latin America premeditated murder is practically nonexistent among the uneducated. Their mentalities are so childlike that, they are incapable of premeditation. Killing, other than political assassination, which falls into an entirely different category, is almost always the result of a momentary unbridled passion.


In 1922 I had occasion to travel about over the state of Tabasco in Mexico on a river steamer. Boats of this class afford the only means of travel in that region, as roads are nonexistent. Roads, in fact, would be impossible, since almost the entire state is covered with a network of connecting waterways. The steamers have no definite schedule, merely zigzagging back and forth from one town to another. Not knowing what the next stop will be lends a pleasant element of surprise to the journey.

If you happen to be going to any particular place, you need no more than patience and the ability to endure the food. You know that you will eventually, at some time in the future, reach your destination; but that is all you know. A friend of mine, on one occasion, started off on one of these steamers for another town, and on the fourth morning he awoke to find the boat docked at the place he started from. It seems that during that night the steamer had taken on a shipment of cattle, which had changed the plans.

It might be expected that ticket selling for such a line of steamers would prove a somewhat complicated process, but not at all. Tickets are sold on a regular tariff basis, according to distance between points, regardless of how much traveling you may do in between. My friend did not have to pay any more for his transportation; he merely had to buy more meals. I tried to inquire into the reasons for this system, but the only explanation I could secure was that ‘things average up.’ Of course the ‘average’ resulted in a maximum of travel for a minimum of fare, but a demonstration of this would have been useless.

It was my fortune during my own voyage to have a cabin without a door key. The key had been lost, probably a long time before, for it must have taken considerable practice on the part of the Indian cabin boy to open the door. He kept a chair and a stick near my cabin door, and each time I wanted to enter he stood on the chair and, reaching through the transom with the stick, dexterously pressed on the catch inside.

The replacement of the lost key had never occurred to anyone. Why should it as long as the door could, somehow, be opened? Simplicity and ingenuity, and at the same time a laborious effort to save the trouble of ordering a key fitted!

There being no other fuel in the region, the steamers burn wood. A number of small Indian villages along the river banks gain their support by cutting and stacking fuel. The steamers stop frequently, by day or by night, to refresh themselves at the woodpiles. A single plank is laid from the boat to the bank. This affords an opportunity for the Indians who have carried their loads aboard the steamer and deposited them to interfere with those still coming aboard with wood. To obviate this difficulty, those who are empty-handed remain on the steamer until the entire group of wood carriers has come on board. Then all go ashore en masse. To make use of two planks seems to occur to no one, although it would save much time. Time, however, can never provoke an argument in Latin America.

On this, as well as other steamers of the fleet, there was a sheet-metal shield around the pilot house on the top deck. This was to protect the pilot from bullets, for it seemed that a short time previously it had been the favorite sport of some bandits to sit along the river banks and try to capture the steamers.

This top deck, where passengers were permitted to walk about, had lost a large section of its railing on one side. It had been removed, so we were informed, along with a number of passengers who had been leaning against it at the time. It had not been replaced, because as long as it was not there people could not lean against it. Its absence was a measure of safety.

All very simple and logical! But when the captain was asked why the rest of the rail was not removed to make the deck entirely safe he could not answer.

Particularly at night, these river voyages are fascinating. In the narrower stretches of the waterways trees sometimes interlock in arches overhead. Flocks of white egrets fly from bank to bank, and the air is heavy with perfume from floating masses of hyacinth. One looks out over junglecovered banks with here and there a little thatch hut amid banana palms in a clearing. Nightfall obscures the ugliness of the tropics, and tall trees, often decked with orchids, spread their branches in silhouette against the sky.

But the man who has not traveled on a small coastwise steamer along the tropic shores of Latin America has yet to bear the apex of discomfort. It is not advisable to undertake such a journey without a saving sense of the ridiculous and an exceedingly callous digestion. For it is certain that the infantile mental processes of the people, as expressed in their casual acts and habits, will be displayed to the full. One comes greatly to admire the traveling public in Latin America for their good nature under trying conditions. Finally this admiration alters to the conclusion that the people actually revel in discomfort.

It should be known that most of the steamers are old vessels which have, after years of service, failed to pass the boiler-inspection tests in the United States. I never saw any attempt made to clean the ships, inside or out. Table linen is never changed. At meals one sits down before a stack of six or seven heavy white plates which have been only imperfectly washed. There is one set of cutlery, which is supposed to last through successive courses. The inevitable soup is usually a hodgepodge of whole vegetables, containing always several large whole cabbage leaves. But why continue? There is some consolation in not being waked early in the morning by a scrubbing gang at work on the deck outside your cabin. There are no scrubbing gangs.


I traveled once up the Gulf Coast of Mexico on a boat called the San Juan. I believe she is on the bottom now. I could not see why she was not on the bottom then. Her hull looked like corrugated roofing, for the plates alternately sagged and bulged, as they looped between or swelled over her rib beams. We had returned from the river trip in Tabasco to the little town of Carmen, commonly called Laguna, celebrated from buccaneer days as a refuge for pirates. The steamer was due to arrive from farther down the coast on Friday and leave the next day, Saturday. She arrived, however, the following Monday and left on Wednesday. She was then due in Vera Cruz on Friday, but arrived Sunday.

There were apparently no regulations governing the number of passengers or the amount of freight that could be carried. This boat had eight cabins for sixteen people, but I was number eighty-four on a passenger list of ninety-six. The freight not only filled the hold but covered the decks. The main deck, which led to the dining saloon and the cabins, was covered to the height of the railing with cases of empty beer bottles being returned to the famous brewery at Orizaba.

A short distance out from Carmen one of the cylinder heads blew off the engine with a tremendous rumble, and great clouds of steam poured through the engine-room hatch. The ship drifted aimlessly for several hours and no effort was made to effect repairs, nor was the ship anchored. An accident had occurred, and beyond this no one seemed able to think. Yet no one, except myself, exhibited the slightest anxiety or impatience. I finally asked the captain what he intended to do and he said: ‘We will return to Carmen.’ I carefully suggested to him that this would be impossible unless the engine could be fixed, and, if it could be fixed, we might as well proceed upon our destined way. At this a great light of understanding seemed to dawn upon him. Orders were given, action ensued, and the steamer finally got under way, a very slow way, but in the desired direction.

Meanwhile everyone on board became exceedingly friendly and goodnatured. Families laid out their effects and established camps all over the boat, even building fires in little charcoal braseros and cooking their meals. Coffee was obtainable at some twenty such establishments on various parts of the ship. The noise of conversation, mixed with the crying of numerous infants, became appalling. Groups of men gathered together for purposes of serious argument and discussion, accompanied by much gesticulation. One would imagine from appearances that these groups were discussing politics or international affairs, but a visit to several groups which seemed the most serious disclosed the following subjects of debate: —

How many eggs does a turtle lay? Are the mangoes raised in Cuba superior to the mangoes raised in Vera Cruz? Has the Spanish language more or fewer words than the English language? Are the roots of mangrove bushes actually roots or are they branches ?

The boat put into Puerto Mexico, and after lingering there for no apparent reason, as no freight was removed or added, started down the river. Someone on shore, an official of some kind, gesticulated wildly and waved a bunch of papers at the departing steamer. We could hear him calling out: ‘Documentos! Documentos!’ The inevitable documents without which nothing can be done in Latin America! In his excitement the captain did not stop the ship, so the man with the papers mounted a horse and drove wildly along the docks to a motor boat farther down. This he boarded, sallying forth in pursuit of the steamer. Motor boat and steamer met in midstream. Neither stopped. The motor boat bounced off the side of the ship, and the man who had been standing in the stern holding the papers aloft sprawled forward across the engine. But the papers were finally passed on up to the captain, who, upon receiving them, struck a grandiloquent pose and exclaimed: ‘Ah, magnífico!’

The ship was, of course, very late. The engine functioned only in part and the captain seemed much upset. I thought that he might lose his position or that he was worried about the ship’s safety. Finally he talked to me and I learned the reason for his distress. He said: ‘Señor, I shall miss a very good bullfight in Vera Cruz on Sunday.’

On the boat was a man who had with him a collection of Mexican postage stamps, including some very rare ones. As I happen to be a collector of stamps I asked him if he would sell them. We spent two hours discussing a price. In the discussion nearly every male passenger on the boat participated. In fact it became a matter of personal moment with all of them, and each one had some inconsequential suggestion to make. Finally, when we had agreed upon a price, the man with the stamps informed me that he could not sell them because they belonged to someone else!


We hear much of the facility with which one can buy one’s way through officialdom in Latin America. It is doubtless true, in some cases, as it is in any country. I am sure that Latin American nations do not have a monopoly in official venality. Personally I have never had to pay for any favor, and have generally found officials ready to go out of their way to help me. And among the Indian natives I have seen the trait of honesty so much more often than its antithesis that I have little patience with the prevalent opinion that the native is, perforce, a thief and a bandit. There are thieves, no doubt, but in Latin America, as in no place else, one can see honesty to the last degree exhibited in the most trivial matters, as well as in affairs of more importance.

One custom that surprises the stranger in the larger Mexican cities is the casual way in which people carry sacks of money about the streets. There being no paper currency, business houses send boys and clerks to and from the banks, unguarded, carrying thousands of pesos. If one rides in a taxicab with such a sack of coin it is not at all unusual to stop to do an errand and leave the sack in the waiting cab. There is an opposite side, of course, but it is astonishing how, for example, one may leave scattered objects in a hotel room in Latin America. The native makes, as a general rule, a most faithful servant, who will lay down his life for his master and can, in the great majority of cases, be implicitly trusted with things of value.

When the native does put forward his own interest he usually does so in a perfectly frank manner. This is well illustrated by an episode that occurred recently in the old Church of San Angel, not far from Mexico City. San Angel is a building of great beauty, very old, and noted for its mosaic domes. Within this church is a famous clerical library, which dates back to colonial days and contains many priceless volumes and documents. San Angel was, like all other churches in Mexico at the present time, without regular services, but was open for all who wished to use it for worship and prayer. An Indian woman who seemed to be in charge of the building as caretaker showed us about. One of our party knelt for a moment in prayer before the beautiful main altar and then deposited a coin in a slot receptacle which stood at one side, near the chancel rail. This was obviolisly the proper and respectful thing to do. I was on the point, then, of making my own contribution when the guide quite forcibly took hold of my arm and detained me, saying: ‘Ah, señor, reserve your charity for me’ — and I did.

Occasionally, of course, real dishonesty is evident. Some years ago a friend and I chartered a motor boat for another river trip in Tabasco, preferring to exercise some control over our time rather than to commit ourselves to the uncertain movements of the steamers. Our boat traveled almost continuously night and day. The crew obtained rest only when we left the boat to make some incidental journey away from the river. They wanted to stop at night, but we found that a small drink of rum to each member of the crew would run the boat several hours longer. One night the captain woke us up to inform us that we had only one case of gasoline left. We stopped, therefore, at the next town, a place called Balancan. It was two o’clock in the morning and the streets of the little village were deserted and dark. Not a sound disturbed the night’s stillness. We turned a corner and almost walked into the point of a bayonet. The soldier behind the rifle bellowed out: ‘Halt!’ His command was quite unnecessary, for we already had halted. After some explanation and persuasion the soldier led us to the barracks and routed out his captain, who appeared, finally, half dressed and with a bath towel wrapped about his head and face. Night air is considered in Latin America to be particularly poisonous. Was there any gasoline in the military stores? There was, and we took five cases and paid the captain. He elaborately emphasized to us that the money was for the government, but he was equally emphatic in his refusal to sign a receipt. I am very much afraid that the government lost five cases of gasoline.

Usually, however, the petty official in Latin America is careful, often to the point of exasperation, and is submissive and painfully obedient to the rules which govern his duties. So rigid, generally, is his adherence to the rules that he allows himself no leeway or discretion whatever and becomes involved in a maze of reglamento, or red tape. To him, if some trivial act is not prescribed in the rules, it has all the color of a grave infraction of them. And, indeed, that anything should not be in the regulations is surprising in Latin America, where law codes are so involved and instructions so complex and so often altered that they are but barely comprehended by t he petty official who is supposed to observe them. This literal adherence to prescribed rules is illustrated by another stamp-collecting episode that concerned a friend of mine. He asked for a set of stamps in a little town in Salvador in Central America. He wished the stamps canceled. This was unusual, and the postmaster could find nothing in the regulations that stated that loose stamps could be canceled. His instructions were to cancel stamps on letters, therefore it must be against the rules to cancel stamps not on letters. A long argument ensued, and my friend finally reached through the window and, taking the canceling device, brought it down a number of times on the loose stamps. Then, gathering up the stamps, he left on the run, for the postmaster pursued him down the street, calling for him to stop. He was easily outdistanced, and the last my friend saw of him was the picture of an exhausted figure, staggering into a café.


During our motor-boat voyage over the rivers of Tabasco we had as cook a boy named Sancho. We could never make out how Sancho managed to prepare the elaborate meals he served. His kitchen consisted of a five-gallon oil can open at both ends. A network of wires across one end served as a grate, and the can was set in a box of sand on the small rear deck. Sancho cooked tolerably well and we had no complaint to make, other than our protests about the coffee. It had a singular and vicious flavor. We blamed it on the river, for the water was not altogether clear and was rather rich in organic matter. One morning I noticed Sancho leaning far over the stern of the boat. At the same time the engine exhaust gave out a hollow, muffled sound. Finally Sancho stood up. He was holding the coffeepot full of steaming hot water, from the engine exhaust! His explanation was: ‘That is the way we always make it.’ Costumbre del país.

Some years later I was in Venezuela. We had stopped at a hardware store in a town on the wonderful trans-Andean highway which links the capital of that country with the republic of Colombia. We needed gasoline, but were delayed some time by the proprietor of the store, who tried to sell us a highpowered air rifle, the only type of rifle legally permitted in the country. He insisted that we shoot the gun to try it. There seemed, however, to be no place to shoot. The store faced the main street, and one could not very well step out and fire a rifle along a crowded thoroughfare. Neither could one shoot inside the store, even at the ceiling, for half the stock of a Latin American hardware store is suspended from the ceiling. I should have enjoyed shooting at some hideous china on one of the shelves.

Seeing my perplexity, the storekeeper instructed me to shoot at the tin sign over the door of the drug store across the street. I hesitated, of course, and to reassure me he said: ‘Oh, he does n’t mind. He is a friend of mine.’ I fired. The bullet made considerable noise on the sign, and then I noticed that it was peppered with dents from a long series of rifle trials. Here was a case of rather violent disobedience to rule, for it is certainly against the law in Venezuela to shoot even an air rifle in a street. But the convenient target in the form of the druggist’s sign, together with the friendship between druggist and hardware man, had converted disobedience to a law into a custom. It is, indeed, a powerful law that can combat a custom in Latin America.

Perhaps under no conditions, however, are the racial characteristics in Latin America better displayed than on a railroad journey. Traveling by rail to the Latin American is a picnic, not a necessary use of the ordinary means of transportation. He may have to go from one place to another on business, but he gives the impression that the ride exists for the pure joy it affords him. He becomes, while traveling, an inveterate eater, as well as an irrepressible conversationalist. He buys food in bulk through the train windows at stations, much of it brilliant in hue; his preference is fruit of all descriptions, very juicy, along with candies and cakes dyed in vivid shades of red, yellow, green, and blue. In Mexico the favorite fruit is the papaya, a large yellow mellon. (Someone has said that the proper place to eat a papaya is in the bathtub.) In other places it is the pineapple ripened on the bush. Only in Latin America can one sec a whole pineapple devoured by a single person.

Before you have been an hour in your train coach you know intimately everyone in the car, and everyone talks to everyone else at the same time. It becomes a bedlam of conversation, in a space in which the air reeks with the odor of food and where the floor is littered with fruit peelings and swimming in fruit juices. Ample time should be allowed for farewells before you reach your station, for you will find yourself called upon to shake hands all around with your fellow travelers, and let many of them pat you on the back and tell you what a great friend and fine fellow you are.

To one who enjoys the habit of a hearty breakfast, Latin America is a discouraging region. When the Latin American orders boiled eggs he drinks them, practically raw. Coupled with the shock of being asked for eggs so early in the day there is the cook’s utter lack of the comprehension of time. His cooking is done entirely by the eye. Four-minute eggs are meaningless. The Spanish for boiled eggs is huevos pasados por agua, which means, literally, ‘eggs passed through the water.’ If you want your eggs cooked you should trust to the eyesight of the cook and order them poached. In some places it is the custom to punch a small hole in the eggshell. When the globule of white that leaks out becomes opaque the egg is supposed to be cooked. These arc called ‘buttoned eggs,’ but the inside of the egg cannot be buttoned. In fact, it would still probably hatch if incubated. But you cannot convince the cook that the ‘ button’ is not a sure test of the time necessary for boiling. No more will he be convinced that a hen can lay an egg, in the first place, unless there is a rooster in the flock.

Custom is dominant. It is fundamental behind the obvious exterior of the life of the people. In incidental experience it projects through the comedy, tragedy, and pathos, always there in plain view. One sits calmly in a sidewalk café in the welcome shade of the arched portales, and the street or plaza in front becomes a stage. The background is always picturesque, brilliant with tinted stuccoed walls and red tiled roofs, or reverent with age in the facade of some old church, its stonework mellowed with the soft patina of the years.


There is such a café in the city of Villa Hermosa, the capital of the state of Tabasco in Mexico. It is called ‘La Retirada de Diana,’ or ‘The Retreat of Diana.’ All cafés are named, and generally in most vivid lettering. Villa Hermosa is a city of considerable interest, both historically and in its present life. It was t he first village that Cortez captured in Mexico. Its Indian name is forgotten, but he called it San Juan Bautista, and here the first cross was raised and the first conversions to Christianity were made. The town’s present name, meaning ‘ beautiful city,’ is an acquisition of recent years. Here it was that Cortez met the famous Doña Marina, later known as the ‘woman of Cortez.’ She was an Aztec who had been enslaved among the Mayas. It is indeed doubtful if the conquest would have succeeded at that time without Doña Marina, for she gave Cortez information of great value to him in his operations. From her, so the old chroniclers tell us, he learned of the animosity between the Tlaxcalans and the Aztecs, and of this he later made astute use.

To-day Villa Hermosa is noted, among other things? for the very fine rum made there. It is a distinctive rum and is served in very small glasses, copitas, at The Retreat of Diana. A friend and I sat at one of the tables of this café on an afternoon some years ago. It was altogether the usual sort of afternoon; the steamer which was to have taken us down the river early that morning gave no indication of departure. Nothing extraordinary happened. It was hot and the shade of the portales was comforting.

After a short interval an Indian came along the street loaded with hats, broad straw sombreros, probably of his own make. Under each arm he carried an immense bundle and some ten or twelve dozen more telescoped together on his head. The top hat stood over three feet higher than the man himself, so that he and his hats occupied a space about six feet wide and nearly nine feet high. He had to walk in the street, as the sidewalk was too narrow for his dimensions. Across the street from the café was a doorway into which he could not possibly fit, but wished to go. How would you have entered the doorway? You would have set the bundles down, removed the stack of hats from your head (presuming you would wear ten dozen hats), and walked in. But this Indian was more ingenious. He looked appraisingly at the door for some time and then got down on his knees and crawled in. I became quite hysterical until my friend filled up the copitas again.

Some time later another Indian, carrying a small upright piano on his back, came along from the other direction. His load was, of course, heavy, but not unusual. The Indians have been so burdened for centuries that to bear fardels has also become a custom. The burden was suspended in the usual way from a strap across his forehead; his arms were stretched far back on either side to balance the bulky load, and he was bent far over. When he wanted to rest it was obviously impossible for him to set the piano down, so in about the middle of the block, and almost opposite our café, he carefully backed up against the buildings for a moment of repose. The interesting and appealing thing about this whole performance was not his carrying a piano or his method of resting. It consisted in his consideration of his own pleasure under these trying conditions. The man had hired a small boy to accompany him. It was the boy’s job to light cigarettes and put them in the man’s mouth when he stopped to rest.

During all this a bootblack had persistently said ‘Limpio’ to me at least twenty times. I let him shine my shoes to end his begging, though they did not need shining. ‘Who is your father?’ Why do I always ask these gamins that ? It has become a habit. Only three out of ten know. The others, like this lad, look up, shrug their shoulders, smile, and say: ‘Yo no sé [I do not know].’ Then sometimes I get other answers that let me peek beneath the surface. Several times these boys have said to me: ‘Padre So-and-so is my father’ — their priest! I have had them cry to me and tell me of cruel beatings and show me welts and bruises on their bodies. Yes, I have had them say: ‘My father is an Americano.’ That is not unusual. It is all perfectly casual and simple, if there is such a thing as moral simplicity.

Next a donkey loaded with sugarcane stalks came down the street . An Indian with bare feet walked behind and prodded the animal with a long stick. Only the donkey’s small feet showed beneath his burden, and his head was entirely submerged in sugar cane. In front of our cafe he decided to go no farther, and lay down in the street. Then all we could see was a pile of motionless sugar cane. The Indian driver first tried verbal persuasion, and then brutality, prodding the donkey’s face violently with the stick. This the donkey resented, so he stood up and proceeded to take measures of his own. He began to kick vigorously. As this divested him, piece by piece, of sugar cane, he gradually came into full view, though his hind legs were somewhat of a blur. Sugar cane scattered in all directions, far and wide. A gang of small boys, mostly bootblacks, collected and taunted the donkey man and made off with many sticks of cane. Meanwhile the donkey, having completely removed his burden, stood unconcernedly in the street with head and ears sleepily drooping. The driver was beside himself with rage and finally did a curious thing. He threw his hat in the air and when it landed in the street he jumped on it several times, and then, returning to his donkey, rested his head affectionately on the donkey’s neck and wept copiously. To him tragedy, rage, and then despair, a whole day’s labor gone; to us but a part of the passing show.

Yet in these incidents — the ingenuity of the man with the hats, the regard for the pleasures of life even under trying conditions shown by the man burdened with the piano, the helpless moral situation of an exploited race as revealed by the answers of the bootblacks, and the violent revolt and pathetic, childlike submission to misfortune of the donkey driver—the story of Latin America lay exposed to us before a sidewalk café where we sipped the delectable rum of Villa Hermosa.


As trivial and sometimes amusing as these incidents may seem, life to these people is in reality a very serious affair. The bullfight at the journey’s end, the classification of mangrove roots, even a casual cigarette, — petty matters to our minds fixed on time and measuring the importance of our efforts by a larger standard, — are to them great preoccupations in the task of living. Small questions of honesty, of regulation, and of custom become to them, in their simplicity, of intense concern. Tragedy, joy, or pathos resides for them in the flow of intricate details, of which their lives are composed; and, observing, too often we only smile.

But a deeper understanding brings with it hope for the progress of these suppressed and exploited races. Surely a people honest in simplicity and possessing a strong sense of duty in small matters has, in a world intent on selfinterest, a refreshing promise of development. For the Latin American Indian loves not only pleasure; he loves beauty. In his sense of form and color he possesses an inborn bent for art. He is a clever craftsman and has a joy in making things — perhaps simple things, yet beautiful — that gives him definite possibilities of cultural progress. He has a deep love of the soil and, with proper incentives to work, is an industrious farmer. Now burdened, it is true, by ignorant and entangling customs inherited from the past, he is submissive to new ideas under wellordered instruction, and with such help will find his way to knowledge and capacity that may be greatly developed. His skill and obedience even offer promise for an industrialism adapted to the needs of his country, but his future lies preëminently in the agricultural pursuits and in the arts.

The problem presented by these less advanced races must be faced by the countries in which they reside. Stable and paternal government is needed, government perhaps introduced and maintained sometimes by force, but which, by arresting the exploitation of the people, by educating them to higher standards of living and work, and by giving the Indian the confidence that he is a human being with rights rather than a beast of burden, will, in time, be self-perpetuating. When these races are well governed and less exploited, when they are given education, and when they understand the benefits of sanitation and develop some measure of self-respect, they will surprise the world with their attainments.