THE NOTION of original sin has become so intrinsically rooted in the consciousness of the average citizen of the socalled civilized lands that a general feeling has developed that unless man's evil instincts are curbed by all manner of laws, the inevitable result will be chaos. The frontiersman, on the other hand, has usually resented such a belief, and the society which he has formed has generally been characterized by a minimum of hard and fast restrictions. The Eskimos in their natural environment were even more anarchistic than the frontiersman. They had neither chiefs nor tribal councils, and the only controls of their conduct were those wrought by personal contacts with their neighbors and by various ceremonial taboos which were voluntarily enforced. It is not surprising that the civilization of the Koyukuk, built by frontiersman and Eskimos, should largely disregard the common notions of the fundamental necessity of laws, and substitute instead a strong suspicion of things legal.
The following random remarks furnish a fair sample of the attitude of the typical Koyukuker toward law. The first quotation is from an Eskimo, the remainder from whites who have spent between twenty and thirty-five years on the frontier.
"Anybody got to lie, law. You no lie, put you in jail."