Native American Peace Pipe

The Native American peace pipe is also known as a calumet or a medicine pipe. This ceremonial smoking pipe is common among the Native American tribes and is a traditional token of peace. During this sacred ceremony, a prayer would be addressed to each of the four  directions as well as the earth and the sky who were considered as mother and father, respectively. The pipe would be filled with tobacco as the prayer was being said and then a little tobacco would be sprinkled on the ground. The pipe is then smoked and passed around in a circle. Most participants do not inhale the smoke and non-smokers just hold the pipe awhile and then pass it.

The smoke from the pipe is said to represent truth including truthful words, truthful actions, and a truthful spirit. As the peace pipe makes its journey towards the end of the circle someone will be asked to smoke out the remaining tobacco from the pipe and the ashes will be sprinkled on the earth. This concludes the peace pipe ceremony. The Native American peace pipe is then disassembled and stored in an animal hide pipe bag or a cloth bag. If the peace pipe ceremony is held indoors then the ashes are given to a woman since women are thought to be synonymous with Mother Earth.

The most famous Native American peace pipe is perhaps the kind used by the Sioux and other Plains Indian tribes. This pipe was made by attaching a wooden stem to a bowl carved from catlinite, also known as “pipestone”. A Native American peace pipe can also be made from a variety of other materials including clay, bluestone, salmon alabaster, and pipestone in a variety of colors such as red, blue, green and black. They may be embellished with beads or leather fringes.

Joseph Paige 2006

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