With the exception of northern and northwestern North America where tobacco and smoking were introduced by European traders, pipe smoking itself was central to the religious thought and behaviour of most native North Americans. The pipe ceremony common among the Plains natives entailed offering the pipe to the 4 cardinal directions representing the elements of native spiritual life. There were calumets for commerce and trade, and they were smoked as both peace and war pipes.
Descriptions of the calumet usually refer to the entire pipe, including bowl and stem, and not merely the stem. Shafts are often long, made of light wood, painted in different colours and adorned with quills, beads, fur and feathers. Pipe bowls are typically carved from stone or catlinite, a red clay, and were engraved with geometric designs, adorned with bone and stone inlay or were simply polished.
Author RENÉ R. GADACZ
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Raid on Deerfield
A narrated history of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield and its aftermath from Native and European perspectives. Also features fascinating stories about Native societies, cultures, trade practices, and traditions. This multimedia website is from the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.