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The three following songs have a common motive, and are parts of one ceremonial action; but the motive is treated differently in each song, so as to conform to the movements of the ceremony.* An unconscious art is here shown, which is interesting as a bit of musical archaeology. During the "calu­met " ceremony among the Pawnees, if a child cried and would not be comforted, its parents were per­mitted to appeal to the "calumets " for help.
The fan-shaped pendant of one of these "calu­mets " was made of the feathers of the golden eagle. This bird in the ceremony was called Kawas, and symbolised the peaceful and conserving power, the giver and preserver of life, the parent of all things. It was to the priestly bearer of this particular "cal­umet '' that the parents appealed. On receiving the appeal, the priest and his assistants arose, and, standing beside "the holy place,"—the consecrated space where the "calumets" were laid at ceremo­nial rest,— they sang this song, thus passing on to Kawas the appeal of the parents.
* These songs were never before noted, and have hitherto been sealed from the knowledge of the white race. They were given and explained by a priest of the rite, through Mr. James R. Murie.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III