Du Vernet describes in his diary an Indigenous ceremony that he believed to be the Dog Feast. While it is unclear whether this is what Du Vernet actually saw, the dog feast was an existing Indigenous ceremony. The dog feast, as its name suggests, involved the ceremonial slaying and human consumption of a dog. According to nineteenth-century travelers’ and missionary accounts, some Indigenous groups understood the killing of a dog as the ultimate sacrifice, made to honour the Great Spirit, and ensuring success in various endeavors.
Archeological evidence suggests the sacrificial slaying and feasting of dogs had its roots in pre-contact North America. By the nineteenth century, most accounts of the ceremony were written by Christian missionaries. Indigenous accounts of this ritual are few, likely because it would go against tradition to discuss the details of such a ceremony.