Friday, June 6, 2014

Great Plains: A Tradition of the Calumet

The word "calumet" is a French word which the French settlers in Canada used to describe the ceremonial pipes that the Native peoples using. You can read more about calumet ceremonial pipes at Wikipedia.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Great Plains unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson (1913).

A Tradition of the Calumet
Lenni-Lenapi

In the days of the old men, far to the north there lived a nation with many villages. Their warriors were as many as the buffalo herds on the plains toward the Darkening Land. Their tepees were many on the shores of a beautiful lake and along wide rivers.

Then the Mysterious One, whose voice is in the clouds, told the chiefs of a great nation, also of many villages, which hunted through all the country from the Big Water in the sunrise to the mountains in the Darkening Land.

Then the chiefs and the old men held a council. Runners came from many villages to the great council. And the council voice was to go to the great nation to the south, the nation with many villages, and bring back scalps and horses.

So the chiefs and warriors went out, one by one. Then runners were sent to all the villages, ordering the chiefs to dance the scalp dance.

Suddenly there came through the sky a great white bird. It came from the forest, and flew into the village  of the great chief. It rested above the head of the chief’s daughter.

Then the chief’s daughter heard a voice in her heart. The voice said, “Call all the chiefs and warriors together. Tell them the Mysterious One is sad because they seek the scalps of the Lenni-Lenapi, the First People. Tell the warriors they must wash their hands in the blood of a young fawn. They must go with many presents to the First People. They must carry to the First People Hobowakan, the calumet.”

Thus the First People and the mighty people with many villages on the shore of the lake smoked together the pipe of council. So there was peace.





(300 words)




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