Native American Culture/Peace pipes


Are peace pipes still used in rituals and if someone non-native was to take place in a ceramony involving one can they refuse to smoke it without offending anyone?

James; The Pipe Ceremony is a very important religious practice of most Plains Tribes. Participation by non-Natives in a traditional ceremony is rare, but not unheard-of. The tradition involves taking the smoke into your mouth, possibly to inhale it, but mainly to blow it out tot he spirits directions and cover yourself with it as an acceptance of prayer and a way of sharing that prayer with all life. In the Lakota, the ending prayer is Mitakye oyasin, which means "all my relations" or all creation. The usual substance burned in the pipe bowl is tobacco, but sometimes herbal Kinniknick (blended herbs) is used or added to the mix. If you are concerned about damaging your lungs, then I would recommend you demure from entering the pipe circle as refusing the pipe when offered to you in turn, is very bad form and would negate the power and energy for all those taking part. In the Southwest, the Navajo also perform a similar, circle group prayer ritual with the smoke of cedar needles, but they don't use a pipe, they spread the smoke from a small, smoking dish using a feather fan or open palms.

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Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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