Smoking tobacco has been an integral part of Native American history. For thousands of years, the pipes they used were beautifully decorated, varying in shape and size so that they would be able to serve the needs of the ritual in which they were used. Additionally, they were also available for personal use. Today, we can still purchase these beautiful, handmade pipes. They have stunning designs and use a wide range of different materials. This means that if you want to smoke pipe tobacco in an original way, you have the ability to do so.
Tobacco throughout History
Christopher Columbus is still seen as the father of the New World. Long before he arrived, however, tobacco was used across different Indian trade routes all over what is now America. It was an essential part of various important rituals in almost every tribe. The craftsmanship of the pipe was truly intricate, and many had various important details. Additionally, the pipe tobacco used itself was of vital importance.
Different Types of Pipes
The most commonly found Native American pipe is the Pipestone or Calumet. This has been used for hundreds of years in a range of different ceremonies and rituals. It was particularly popular among Plains Indian tribes, including the Sioux, who used it mainly as a peace pipe. Due to frequent trading between the different tribes across the country, it was eventually found in almost every tribe as an indigenous product. This type of pipe is made from a wooden stem and a carved bowl made from pipestone or calamite, which would be intricately carved.
The Cherokee and Iroquois used a similar pipe to the Calumet, but it was slightly smaller. Indians from the Southwest of the country would often use deer antlers to create pipes. After Columbus arrived, the tomahawk pipe was also made. The Elbow Pipe is also frequently found through different tribes.
Then, there are effigy pipes. These celebrate the beauty of nature and will have the most intricate designs and carvings. The eagle is particularly popular. Although every pipe maker would have their own techniques and skills, all effigy pipes show true craftsmanship. Native Americans believe in harmony with nature, and these pipes represented the beauty of the world around them so had to be incredibly detailed and beautiful as well.
The pipes were used in many different ceremonies. The peace pipe would be used after battles had finished, or when disputes were resolved in a diplomatic way. The pipe would then be passed around using a clockwise direction. During social occasions, if the host felt that a gathering had to come to an end and the guests needed to return home, he would light the pipe to indicate this. Whenever you have a Native American pipe, therefore, you hold in your hands a piece of culture and history.
Many people keep these pipes as decoration items. However, pipe lovers will also often actually smoke them, in order to get the true experience.
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