On June 9, 1603, Samuel de Champlain attended an Algonquin victory ceremony along the banks of the Ottawa River. He sat with the Grand Sagamore, Besouat, in front of a row of spikes topped with the heads of the defeated enemy, and watched as the Grand Sagamore’s wives and daughters danced before them entirely naked, wearing only necklaces of dyed porcupine quills.
After the dancing, the conversation turned to theology. The Grand Sagamore told Champlain that there was one sole God. After God had created all things, he stuck some arrows in the ground, and these turned into the men and women who populated the earth.
Champlain told the Grand Sagamore that this was pagan superstition, and false. There was indeed one sole God, but after he had created all things, he took a lump of clay and made a man, and then took one of the man’s ribs and made a woman. The Grand Sagamore looked doubtful, but, following the rules of hospitality, remained silent.