The 29th. On leaving our Camp, we ran in a westerly direction, and then we headed Southwest. Toward noon, we came upon 4 pirogues of Akansea; when my Canoe approached the bank, an old man entered the water and carried me upon his Shoulders to the land. The Chief made me sit on a large Bearskin, and the french on Willow branches, which he had caused his young men to cut. He made me a [p. 117] present of 2 loaves of piakimina, which I distributed among the french. And, as I was grieved because they would not listen to me when I wished to speak of God, I withdrew to pray for them while the Kettles were boiling. I was Served with a dish of Sagamité made of green indian corn; and another of whole ears of green corn, seasoned with excellent squashes. I gave a small present to the Chief of the Party; and on the 30th we Encamped a league lower down, half a league from the old Village of the Akansea (where they formerly received the Late Father Marquette), which is now recognized only by its old outworks, for not a Cabin remains.
The 31st. We arrived, about 9 o'clock in the morning, at the Village of the Kappa Akansea, who are on the 24th degree, according to Father Marquette's calculation. The Village is half a league from the water's edge. Monsieur de Montigny had erected a Cross on the Hill, which is very steep and 40 feet high. After saluting the Cross, and chanting the Vexilla Regis with the French, we gave notice to the Akansea by 3 Gunshots; and in less than ten minutes, at the most, two Young men appeared with Swords in their hands, -- closely followed by the Chief of the Kappa and that of the Tourima, and 20 or 30 well-formed young men with their Bows and arrows. Some had swords and 2 or 3 English guns, which had been given them by the person who, the year before, had brought a quantity of goods to them to alienate them from the french, and especially from the Missionaries ... [p. 119] However, the Chiefs invited me to go to their village, which consists of 40 Cabins. A number of the french accompanied me, while the others kept the Canoes at anchor. They took me to the Cabin of the Chief, who made me sit down on a mat of Canes adorned with figures, and at the same time they put on the fire the Kettle, containing green indian corn seasoned with a large quantity of dried peaches. They brought me from another Cabin a large dish of Ripe fruit of the Piakimina, which is almost like the medlar of France. The dish was handed to the Chief to give to me. As it is the most delicious fruit that the savages have from the Ilinois to the sea, the Chief did not fail to begin his feast with it. After tasting a little of it, I had the dish carried to brother Guibert and to the frenchmen, who sat opposite me. I did the same with the Sagamité. I observed that all who entered the Cabin remained standing at the door, and advanced only when the Chief told them to do so and to sit down. There was a metchigamikoué woman who acted as my interpreter, and who confirmed the news of Father de Limogés's wreck with the loss of all that he had. She gave him her supply of corn and Squashes, to assist him on his journey to the Natchés; and the Chief gave him an earthen pot, after regaling him as well as he could. I asked him whether he remembered having formerly seen in their village a frenchman, clad in black, and dressed as I was. He replied that he remembered it very well, but that it was so long ago that he could not count the years. I told him that it was more than [p. 121] 28 years ago. He also told me that they had danced to him the Captain's Calumet -- which I did not at first understand, for I thought that he spoke of the Calumet of the Ilinois, which the Kaskaskia had given to Father Marquette to carry with Him in the Mississipi country, as a Safeguard; but I have found, in the Father's journal, that they had indeed danced the Calumet to him. He afterward caused me to be asked in how many days I would start, and, when I told him that I had landed merely to greet him in his Cabin, And that I was about to reëmbark, He begged me to remain at least a day, that he might have provisions prepared for me; and he said that all the young men of His village were much pleased to see me. I replied to his compliment, and said that I was anxious to reach my destination. I had previously inquired Whether there were any sick people; but my Interpreter gave me to understand that there were none. Finally, after much going and coming, and many consultations with his people, the Chief of the village asked me to remain until the following day, because he wished with his young men to sing the Chief's Calumet for me. This is a very special honor, which is paid but seldom, and only to persons of distinction; so I thanked him for His good will, saying that I did not consider myself a Captain, and that I was about to leave at Once. My answer pleased the French, but was not very agreeable to all the others who, in Doing me that honor, hoped to gain presents from me. The Chief escorted me to the Water's edge, accompanied by all his people; and they brought me a quantity of dried peaches, of Piachimina, and of Squashes. I Gave the Chief a present of a little lead and powder, a box [p. 123] of vermilion wherewith to daub his young men, and some other trifles, which greatly pleased him; and I told him that I thanked him for the kindness that he had Shown to Father de Limoges. After I had embarked, They fired four Gunshots, to which the people who were with me replied. At 2 Leagues from the Village, there is a small River by which They go in Canoes in the springtime, behind the Hills, To the doors of their Cabins. Since I have spoken above of the Calumet, you will be pleased if I here tell you something about it. There is nothing among these Indians that is more mysterious or more reverenced. No such honors are paid to the crowns and scepters of Kings as those that they pay to it. It seems to be the God of Peace and of war, the arbiter of life and of death. It suffices for one to carry and to show it, to walk in safety in the midst of Enemies, who in the hottest of the Fight lay down their weapons when it is displayed. That is why the Illinois gave one to the late Father Marquette, as a safeguard among the tribes of the Mississipi through whom he must pass on his voyage, when he went to discover that river and the nations that dwell along It.
There is one Calumet for Peace and one for war, and they are distinguished solely by the Color of the feathers that adorn them. Red is the sign of war. They use it also to terminate their quarrels, to strengthen their alliances and to speak to Strangers. It is a sort of Pipe for smoking Tobacco, made from a red stone polished like marble, and bored out in such manner that one end serves for holding the tobacco, while the other fits upon the stem. The latter consists of a hollow stick two feet long, as [p. 125] large as an ordinary cane. Hence the french have called it "calumet," from a corruption of the word Chalumeau, because it resembles that instrument -- or, rather, a long flute. It is ornamented with the heads or Necks of various birds, whose plumage is very handsome. They also add long feathers of red, green, or other colors with which it is entirely Covered. They esteem it chiefly because they look upon it as the Calumet or Pipe of the sun; and, in fact, they offer it to the sun to smoke when they wish to obtain a Calm, or rain, or fine weather. They scruple to bathe at the beginning of the Hot weather, or to eat new fruit, before they have danced the calumet -- that means that the Chief, holding it in his hands, sings airs to which the others respond, while dancing and making measured gestures to the sound of certain Instruments shaped like small Drums.