The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXII. Non-English Writings II

§ 4. Aids to Memory

Other aids to memory were occasionally employed, bundles of notched sticks, the painted skins of the Plainsman’s Summer and Winter counts. These were in the nature of public documents. Chippewa (Ojibway) tribes had “board plates” on which between straight lines were painted or incised ideographic symbols indicating the song sequences of their rituals. But these could be read only by members of the societies to which they pertained. In the whole of what is now the United States there was but one native record that could be called, in our fashion, a book. It consisted of a number of birch-bark plates, incised and painted red, the Walam Olum, the Red Score of the Lenni Lenape. For the rest, the record of the Amerind soul was committed to the mind and the heart.