The Native American Pipe Ceremony The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds. The pipe is our prayers in physical form. Smoke becomes our words; it goes out, touches everything, and becomes a part of all there is.
However, I acknowledge that the term, widely accepted and colloquially understood, has different meanings based on context, regional use and customs, and scope.
Tobacco is classified botanically as the genus Nicotiana belonging to the nightshade family which also includes the potato and the eggplant.
It is a very powerful stimulant and, from a commercial point of view, the most important plant of the family. Between 60 and 70 different and discrete species of Nicotiana have been identified, but only two, Nicotiana rustica and Nicotiana tabacum, are cultivated for use.
Tobacco is believed to be native to tropical America, and it was cultivated and used by the inhabitants of various parts of this continent long before its discovery by Europeans. Tobacco was of ancient origin, probably first found in North America in the southeastern region where tobacco is commercially grown today.
Its more widespread occurrence postdates A. Nicotiana tabacum as pictured on a cigar box in the 's. Illustration courtesy of Tony Hyman: National Cigar Museum In many quarters, it is believed that the Native American obtained his knowledge of tobacco and learned the custom of pipe smoking from the wandering Mayas of Central America, because the tobacco plant originally flourished in the West Indies, Central America and Mexico.
Francisco Fernandez introduced it to Spain in and, in, the French ambassador to the Court of Lisbon, Jean Nicot, sent tobacco seeds back to France.
Sometime betweentobacco was being grown in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Oviedo called this plant perebecenuc, supposedly tobacco, a plant used by the West Indian natives as a vulnerary to heal wounds.
European botanists countered that Oviedo had confused perebecenuc for tobacco; however, by the last quarter of that century, tobacco was generally accepted as the most effective vulnerary known to that time.
No matter the confusion, in an era of disease, pestilence, and plague, tobacco was accepted as a household remedy, the touchstone of all medical plants, the wonder-working herb from God with the appellation Indorum sana Sancta sive Nicotiana Gallorum, the holy healing [herb] of the Indians, or Nicotiana of the French.
Coincident with the discovery of America, two Spanish sailors sent ashore by Columbus, saw Indians smoking crude-looking cigars. Ramon Pane, a Catalan friar, who accompanied Columbus on his second expedition to America indetailed how the aborigines of Hispaniola later Haiti ingested a hallucinogenic snuff called cohoba, believed to be pulverized tobacco that was used in religious ceremonies by medicine men to induce a trance.
Induring his second voyage to America, Amerigo Vespucci observed the inhabitants of St. Margarita Island, off the coast of Venezuela, chewing green leaves mixed with a pulverized substance. The aforementioned Oviedo, a resident on Hispaniola fromis considered the first to have described the curious pleasure of swallowing smoke using a tube thetaboca often spelled tabaco ; through time, the word transitioned from describing the tube to describing the plant itself, and tobacco became a universal word thereafter.
Oviedo wrote that the local natives considered this herb very precious, and they grew it in their gardens.
Oviedo also traveled with Juan de Grijalva to Mexico and, inreported from Yucatan that the local Indian chiefs offered the Spanish small tubes containing tobacco that were burning at one end, and these guests were encouraged to inhale the smoke. During his second voyage to Canada, Jacques Cartier, a Breton mariner, observed Iroquoians at Hochelaga Montreal inhaling smoke through elbow-shaped pipes and recorded this event in Brief Recit They have also a herb which they greatly esteem, and during the summer they make great store of it for the winter time.
Only the men use it and in the manner following. Father Francisco Creuxio, a Jesuit missionary, found tobacco in abundant use among the Indians of Canada. Many more European, Canadian and American narrations about Native American habits included commentaries about their smoking customs in various tracts and monographs now archived in libraries around the world.
National Cigar Museum As detailed in this brief survey, the use of tobacco was one of the most widely diffused of all Indian culture traits — and not merely within North America because, with the exception of the Eskimo, the native people of North, Central and South America, all indulged in the tobacco habit.
With the discovery of America and the establishment of trade between the West Indies and Spain, the history of tobacco smoking passed from the New World to the Old; from the Americas, then, the use of tobacco spread with astonishing rapidity throughout the entire globe.
Native American Cultivation of Tobacco The methods of planting, harvesting, curing and later preserving tobacco varied among Native Americans, just as these operations vary in different regions of the world where tobacco is grown today.
It is believed that land was prepared for planting tobacco by gathering and burning dried grass where the tobacco patch was to be sown in order to keep the ground clear of weeds. Once planted, no further attention was paid to it; the crop was allowed to grow thick. Then, the whole plant was dried for smoking, the leaf cured while hanging in huts until the leaves turned yellow.
The leaves were then arranged side-by-side and tied in bundles until they were completely dried, and kept free of moisture. The unripe seed capsules were dried separately, because these were especially prized for their smoking flavor.
The cultivation of tobacco was often surrounded with prescriptions and prohibitions designed to assure its ritual potency.
Among the Hidatsa and Mandan of North Dakota, for example, growing tobacco was entrusted not to the women, but to the men although, customarily, among Native Americans, agriculture was almost uniformly and exclusively a female task.
Among many Plains tribes, such as the Crow and Blackfoot, the cultivation of tobacco survived the total abandonment of agriculture that otherwise took place with the arrival of the horse. Pictured at left is an early Caribbean farm.
At first only low born Spanish planted, but when upper classes saw there was money to be made Negro slaves weren't imported until the mid 's but a few surviving Indians were used as laborers.
Having been instructed by Raleigh to survey the new possession and report on its natural resources, he described a tobacco plantation in a Virginia Indian village in A Briefe and True report of the new found land of Virginia, London, The Spaniardes generally call it Tobacco.
The leaues thereof being dried and brought into powder:The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds. "The pipe is a link between the earth and the sky," explains White Deer of Autumn. "Nothing is more sacred. The Native American Pipe Ceremony. The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds.
"The pipe is a link between the earth and the sky," explains White Deer of Autumn. Native American Traditions. Introduction to Native Peoples’ Traditions.
Sacred Pipe of the Lakota Sioux. The Sioux, or Lakota, as they call themselves in the westernmost dialect, became the focus of the United States in the s as their defiant will to resist colonization and assimilation on the Great Plains caught the imagination of.
These activities are insensitive to Native American culture. As a result, the trust and willingness of native peoples to share their knowledge with educational and scientific communities has suffered. There were ceremonies to pray for a good harvest, a ritual before gathering the first bitterroot, and another before consuming the first.
Habitual Use “When we conduct a Sacred Pipe ceremony we fill the pipe with sacred tobacco and offer it Native American Tobacco Education Fact Sheets: Ceremonial Use versus Habitual Use Native American Tobacco Education Native American Cancer Research .
May 11, · The seeds have been used for centuries by many Mexican Native American cultures as an hallucinogen; they were known to the Aztecs as ‘tlitliltzin’, the Nahuatl word for “black”.
Their traditional use by Mexican Native Americans was first discovered in , brought to light in a report documenting use going back to Aztec times.