North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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It was due to the presence of one of these so-called ''calumets " in Marquette's frail canoe that made possible his peaceful descent of the Missis­sippi River on his voyage of discovery. He writes that the "calumet is the most mysterious thing in the world. The sceptres of our kings are not so much respected; . . . for one with this calumet may venture among his enemies, and in the hottest battles they lay down their arms before this sacred pipe."
The "calumet" ceremony has, therefore, an his­toric interest for us, apart from its revelation of the religious beliefs and social ideals of the Indian. To explain the symbolism, the teachings, and the observances which make up this complex rite would fill a volume; but, that something of the dignity and beauty of the thoughts expressed in it may be known, two of its numerous songs are here given.
To understand the significance of these songs, it should be known that two distinct groups or parties were indispensable to the performance of the cere­mony; namely, they who brought the "calumets " and they who received them. As it was imperative that there should be no blood relationship between these two parties, they always belonged to different
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III