Transcribed by:

Peter P. Mazzella
Parkland College
Anthropology 101

2005 by the Center For Social Research, Parkland College

New Discovery
Of A
Vast Country in America.
Volume 1.

Louis Hennepin

Printed for Bentley, Tonsan, Bonwik, T. Goodwin, and S. Manship.

p. 124

As we had no manner of Acquaintance with the Savages of the village near which we landed, our Men prepar'd themselves to make a vigorous Defence in case they were attack'd; and in order to it, possessed our selves of a rising Ground, where we could not [74] be surprizd, and where we might make head against a great number of Savages. We Sent afterwards three Men to buy Provisions in the village with the Calumet or Pipe of Peace, which the Poutouatami's of the Island had given us. I had forgot to mention that when they made us that Present, they observ'd a great many Ceremonies; and because that Calumet of Peace is the most sacred Thing amongst the Savages, I think fit to describe the same in the next Chapter.

p. 125


A Description of the Calumet, or Great Pipe. [The description is of a pipe given to la Salle by the Pottawatomie]

THIS Calumet is the most mysterious Thing in the World among the Savages of the Continent of the Northern America; for it is us'd in all their important Transactions: However, it is nothing else but a large Tobacco-Pipe made of Red, Black, or White Marble: The Head is finely polish'd, and the Quill, which is commonly two Foot and a half long; is made of a pretty strong Reed, or Cane, adorn'd with Feathers of all Colours, interlac'd with Locks of Womens Hair. They tie to it two Wings of the most curious Birds they find, which makes their Calumet not much unlike Mercury's Wand, or that Staff Ambassadors did formerly carry when they went to treat of Peace. They sheath that Reed into the Neck of Birds they call Huars [Common Loons], which are as big as our Geese, and spotted with Black and White; or else of a sort of Ducks who make their Nests upon Trees, though Water be their ordinary Element, and whose Feathers are of many different Colours [Wood Duck]. However, every Nation adorns the Calumet as they think fit according to their own Genius and the Birds they have in their Country.

[75] A Pipe, such as I have describ'd it, is a Pass and safe

p. 126

Conduct amongst all the Allies of the Nation who has given it; and in all Embassies, the Ambassadors carry that Calumet as the Symbol of Peace, which is always respected; for the Savages are generally persuaded, that a great Misfortune would befall 'em, if they violated the Publick Faith of the Calumet. All their Enterprizes, Delarations of War, or Conclusion of Peace, as well as all the rest of their Ceremonies, are Sealed, if I may be permitted to say so, with this Calumet. They fill that Pipe with the best Tobacco they have, and then present it to those with whom they have concluded any great Affair, and smoak out of the fame after them. I had certainly perish'd in my Voyage, had it not been for this Calumet or Pipe, as the Reader will observe in perusing the following Account.

Our three Men, provided with this Pipe as a Pass, and very well Arm'd, went to the little Village of the Savages, which was about three Leagues from the place where we landed; but they found no body therein; for the Savages having heard that we had refus'd to land at the other Village, thought we were Enemies, and therefore had left their Habitation. Our Men finding no body in their Cabins, took some Indian Corn, and left in stead of it some Goods, to let them see that we were no Robbers, nor their Enemies. However, the Savages, to the number of twenty Men, arm'd with Axes, small Guns, Bows, and a sort of Club, which in their

p. 127

Language they call Break-heads, advanc'd near the Place where we Stood; whereupon M. la Salle, with four Men very well arm'd, went toward them to speak with them, and desir'd them to come near us, for fear, as he said, a Party of our Men, who were gone a Hunting, should meet with them and kill them. They were persuaded to sit down at the foot of the Eminence where we were posted, and M. la [76] Salle spoke to them, all the while of the subject matter of his voyage, which he had undertaken for their good and advantage, as he told them. This was only to amuse them till our three Men return'd ; who appearing with the Calumet of Peace, the Savages made a great Shout, and rose, and began to dance. We made them some Excuse because of our Men having taken some of their Corn, and told them they had left the true value of it in Goods; which they took so well, that they Sent immediately for more, and gave us the next Day as much as we could conveniently carry in our Canou's. They retir'd towards the Evening; and M. la Salle order'd some Trees to be cut down, and laid cross the way, to prevent any Surprize from the Savages.

The next Morning about ten a Clock, the Oldest of them came to us with their Calumet of Peace, and entertain' d us with some wild Goats [White Tailed Deer] they had taken. We return' d them our Thanks, and presented them with some Axes, Knives, and several little Toys for their Wives, with which they were very much pleas'd.