A Song of the Inoca Calumet Ceremony

A song of the Calumet ceremony of the Inoca. Father Jacques Marquette in 1673 includes the first stanza in his journal. Thwaites (Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, Vol. LIX, 1899: 310-311) provides the score and completing words in a footnote.

Marquette indicates that songs were employed during the "first scene" of a three scene ceremony. He was taught the songs, the dance, and was given a pipe by the inhabitants of the first Inoca (Peoria) village he encountered. The village was located along the Des Moines River in southeastern Iowa. The gift was intended to offer him protection in his dealings with the Nations that he would subsequently encounter along the Mississippi River. It was to prove its worth many times over.

The performance in *.mp3 format (1.9 meg).

Jamie Kirts, an Anthropology 101 student at Parkland College, performs the song. Bear in mind that it has not been heard in almost 330 years and many questions remain regarding how it should "sound." Ms. Kirts lowered it one octave (that her voice might reach the higher notes) and took a moderate cadence. The result is a rather soft, lyrical melody described by one listener as sounding rather like Ojibwa religious music. Contemporary Native American music often employs falsetto voice and a rapid drum beat. Honestly, the correspondence of this iteration to the character of the original sound remains unknown.