Surrounded by Beauty

Navigation Map


Key Ideas
Tobacco is a special plant for Native Americans, its ceremonial use is very different from the way most Americans use tobacco today.

Tobacco is used as a medicine, in ceremonies, and given as gifts in traditional American Indian cultures.

Northwest Coast Southwest Mississippi Valley Northeast Woodlands Plains

Introduction --
Elk Dreamer's Society
Pipe Bowl Label: Lakota, Great Plains region (United States), Pipe bowl, about 1860, Stone, The Christina N. and Swan J. Turnblad Memorial Fund 89.88

Native American pipes are often called "peace pipes." Although native people did sometimes smoke when making treaty settlements, pipes were used for many purposes. Because the Plains people believed that smoke carried their words to the Great Spirit, smoking was like saying a prayer. Implements associated with the use of tobacco, including pipes, are considered sacred.

Before talking of holy things, we prepare ourselves by offerings... one will fill his pipe and hand it to the other who will light it and offer it to the sky and the earth... they will smoke together... then will they be ready to talk.

- Chased-By-Bears, Santee Sioux

Pipe Bowl Elkhide Pipe Bag Shield Dress Baby Bonnet Native Amercan History and Culture


MIA Home Page ArtsConnectEd Printable Curriculum