Study Guide

Song of Hiawatha Part I: The Peace-Pipe

By Henry W. Longfellow

Part I: The Peace-Pipe

  • One day, a god named Gitche Manito descends from the sky to deliver a message to his people. He melts a bunch of rock in a nearby quarry and uses the rock to form a pipe. He fills it with bark from some willow trees and smokes it for a while, blowing the smoke all over the land. 
  • The smoke rises so high into the air that warriors and leaders from many different Native American tribes see it and travel toward it (kind of like the North Star in the Bible?).
  • Once the men from different tribes have gathered, Gitche Manito tells them to stop with all their constant fighting and to create peace among themselves. GM (as we like to call him) asks them why they fight so much when he has clearly given them all the fish, deer, and corn they'll ever need. Why fight when there's more than enough bounty in the land for everyone? 
  • Finally, Gitche Manito claims that he'll soon send a prophet to bring peace to all the nations (a prophet like… Jesus?).
  • After hearing all this, the warriors throw down their weapons and jump into a nearby river to wash the war paint from their bodies. Then they all go to the red stone quarry and break rock from it to make their own peace pipes.