The Pipe of Peace

Gitche Manito, the Mighty,

Grieved to see His people fighting.

Ever following the war trail,

So descending from the Sky-land

Called the nations all together,

Met with them in tribal council

On the upper Mississippi.

There, upon a wall of red rock,

Seeing, on the plain below Him,

All the wigwams of His children,

He broke off a piece of pipestone,

Turned it in His skillful fingers,

Molded it into a peace-pipe,

Smoked it till the smoke ascended

In a cloud-trail reaching Sky-land.

Then He called, His clear voice ringing,

"I am weary of your warring,

Of your chanted prayers for vengeance.

Cleanse your hearts and let forgiveness

Burn the candles on your altars.

See, my people, see the color

Of this pipe which I have made you--

Red, the flesh of all the people!

Therefore it can be a peace-pipe

Only when you cease your fighting.

Smoke the calumet together,

And let peace be here forever."

Gitche Manito, the Mighty

Vanished from them and ascended

In a smoke-cloud into Sky-land.

In that valley ever after

Not a tomahawk was lifted.

American Myths and Legends

First, "American Myths and Legends" Contest, 1953