Outstanding stereo-view of an important dead Indian on a ritual Scaffold. Burial scaffolds were reserved for men only. The bodies of women and children were left in the brush.
This William E. Hook 1884 photograph of two men dressed in military uniforms standing under a scaffold includes the bones of a dead horse in the foreground.
The dead was a man of importance in this case, as the spirit of the horse will accompany and be of use to his spirit in the “happy hunting grounds,”
In very fine condition, with wear as shown in the photographs.
"All the work about winding up the dead, building the scaffold, and placing the dead upon it is done by women only, who, after having finished their labor, return and bring the men, to show them where the body is placed, that they may be able to find it in future. Valuables of all kinds, such as weapons, ornaments, pipes, &c.—in short, whatever the deceased valued most highly while living, and locks of hair cut from the heads of the mourners at his death, are always bound up with the body. In case the dead was a man of importance, or if the family could afford it, even though he were not, one or several horses (generally, in the former case, those which the departed thought most of) are shot and placed under the scaffold. The idea in this is that the spirit of the horse will accompany and be of use to his spirit in the “happy hunting grounds,” or, as these people express it, “the spirit land.”