If we are entitled to accept the principle that the modern barbarian world has preserved to a fair degree the culture of humanity's adolescence, we may legitimately go a step farther and look to the modern savage world for some clue to the culture of humanity's childhood. Used with due reserve, our knowledge of savage culture may help toward a reconstruction of the earlier stages of prehistoric cultural developlment, but at any rate coördination of the facts must precede their interpretation, and in turn be preceded by intensive studies of the individual savage tribes.
The present work had its origin in such an attempt to find what light an intensive study of the available sources would throw on the culture, particularly the religion and morality, and on the cultural relations, of one of the most primitive aboriginal American groups. In the course of preparation references accumulated, and what began as a cultural study has ended as a bibliogaphy.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my grateful appreciation first of all to Mr. Frederick W. Hodge, who has given me his valued counsel on many matters connected with the work. I am also indebted to him as well as to Mr. Wilberforce Eames for several important titles.
Dr. Aleš Hrdlička and Dr. John R. Swanton have generously given me the benefit of their expert knowledge and wide experience in their respective fields, although of course I should not like them to be held responsible for conclusions advanced in the work.
Prof. Charles Wellington Furlong, whose intimate personal knowledge of the Fuegian and Patagonian tribes makes him our foremost North American authority on their culture, has very kindly put at my disposal much of his invaluable manuscript material and has given me information on many obscure points.
The Rev. Dr. Antonio Cojazzi and Father José M. Beauvoir, both of the Salesian Society, have by letter helped to clear up for me several matters in connection with their own and their confrères' linguistic studies.
I have to thank Mr. Charles Martel, of the Library of Congress, for many kindnesses to me and for his valuable suggestions regarding bibliographical technique.