On January 5, 1680, the eight canoes passed through the Narrows of the Illinois River above Peoria and came upon the Peoria Indians, camped on both sides of the Pimiteoui Lake. With LaSalles’ canoe on the right and Tonti’s on the left, the eight canoes formed a line to cover the width of the river, signalling the Indians that they came in peace. The Indians were frightened at first, but, upon realizing that the white men meant no harm, welcomed them with a feast of bear meat, buffalo fat, and porridge. LaSalle paid the Indians for the corn taken from their village at Starved Rock, presented the chiefs with gifts of axes and tobacco, and smoked the calumet pipe. The Indians rubbed the bare feet of the priests with bear’s grease to stimulate their fatigued muscles.
That night, the Peoria Indians were visited by Monsoela, a chief of the Maskouten nation, who, accompanied by a party of Miami Indians and their enemies, the Iroquois. Frightened by the sudden change in attitude on the part of the Peoria Indians, six of LaSalles’ men deserted the camp the following day.
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