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Ancient and modern methods of arrow-release.
Part 3 of 17

The next form of release to be considered is one which is a direct outgrowth from the primary release. This release consists in grasping the arrow with the straightened thumb and bent forefinger, while the ends of the second and third fingers are brought to bear on the string to assist in drawing. Figs. 4 and 5 illustrate the attitude of the hand in this release. Mr. Paul Mamegowena, an Ottawa Indian, informs me that his tribe practice this release, and he illustrated the method to me. Through the courtesy of Mr. Frank Hamilton Gushing I was enabled to make inquiries of a number of Zuņi chiefs in regard to their method, and the release practiced by them differed' in no respect from that of the Ottawas.

Mr. Daniel S. Hastings, formerly civil engineer on the Northern Pacific Railroad writes to me as follows regarding the Chippewa Indians of northern Wisconsin: "I have watched the Indians so as to find out their manner of drawing back the bow-string and releasing the arrow, and I find they all agree in one respect: they all grasp the arrow between the thumb and forefinger. Some of them use the thumb and forefinger alone, while others use the second, and still others add the second and third fingers to assist in pulling the string back, and let the string slip off the ends of the second and third fingers at the same instant the arrow is released from between the thumb and forefinger." This release, though clearly distinct from the primary release, is an advance upon it in the added assistance of one or two fingers in pulling back the string ; and the description given by Mr. Hastings is confirmatory of the natural relations existing between the two releases. For this reason it will be designated as the Secondary release.

Mr. La Flesche, an intelligent Omaha, showed me a release practiced by his people which differs sufficiently from the secondary release to warrant its recognition as a separate form. In this release the forefinger, instead of being bent, is nearly straight with its tip, as well as the tips of the second and third fingers, pressing or pulling on the string, the thumb, as in the primary and secondary release, active in assisting in pinching the arrow and pulling it back. This release I shall call the Tertiary release. (See Figs. 6 and 7.)

Lieut. A. W. Vogdes, U. S. A., has informed me that the Sioux, Arapahoes, and Cheyenne practice the tertiary release; and Col. James Stephenson has noticed this release practiced not only by the two latter tribes but by the' Assiniboins, Comanches, Crows, Blackfeet, and Navajos. Mr. La Flesche and Lieut. Vogdes informed me that the tribes using this release held the bow nearly horizontally.