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Yuchi Pipe Making

A large number of tobacco pipes of clay, sacu’yud?c’, ‘earth pipes’ (Fig. 11), were formerly made and used by the Yuchi. The variety in form shown by these pipes indicates that at an earlier time work in clay must have been a rather important activity with them. It seems that pipe making was, and is yet to a limited extent, practiced by the men. Clay is prepared in the manner described before for pots, and made into lengths about an inch in diameter. With a knife, cylinders of various lengths are cut out which are to be bent and hollowed into desired forms for the pipes. This shaping is done with the knife, the sides being shaved down round or square and the angles squared to suit the artisan’s taste. The narrower end is twisted at right angles to the bowl to form the stem-holder. The knife is then used to gouge out and hollow the bowl. A small pointed stick (Fig. 10, a) is twisted into the stem end to make a hole for the stem, and when it has nearly reached the bowl cavity a small sharp twig is used to connect the two openings. After the exterior has been finished off -with the knife the pipe is complete except for a cane or hollow twig stem. A piece of flint (Fig. 10, 5) is often used to rub the pipe with and give it a polish, but generally none is thought necessary. The making of effigy forms in pipes is mostly done by pressing and shaping with the fingers. The pipes are seldom baked, as this...

Origin of the Medicine Pipe

Thunder you have heard him, he is everywhere. He roars in the mountains, he shouts far out on the prairie. He strikes the high rocks, and they fall to pieces. He hits a tree, and it is broken in slivers. He strikes the people, and they die. He is bad. He does not like the towering cliff, the standing tree, or living man. He likes to strike and crush them to the ground. Yes, yes! Of all he is most powerful; he is the one most strong. But I have not told you the worst: he sometimes steals women. Long ago, almost in the beginning, a man and his wife were sitting in their lodge, when Thunder came and struck them. The man was not killed. At first he was as if dead, but after a while he lived again, and rising looked about him. His wife was not there. “Oh, well,” he thought, “she has gone to get some water or wood,” and he sat a while; but when the sun had under-disappeared, he went out and inquired about her of the people. No one had seen her. He searched throughout the camp, but did not find her. Then he knew that Thunder had stolen her, and he went out on the hills alone and mourned. When morning came, he rose and wandered far away, and he asked all the animals he met if they knew where Thunder lived. They laughed, and would not answer. The Wolf said: “Do you think we would seek the home of the only one we fear? He is our only danger. From...

Indian Pipes

The American Indian takes a great pride in his pipe. There is nothing too precious for him to make it from. His best efforts in ancient sculpture were devoted to it. And there is nothing in his manners and customs more emphatically characteristic, than his habits of smoking. Smoking the leaves of the nicotiana was an ancient custom with the Indian tribes. Tobacco, which is improperly supposed to be an Asiatic plant, appears first to have been brought to England from the North American coasts by the ships of Sir Walter Raleigh, about 1588. Powhatan and his sylvan court smoked it. It was considered a sacred gift. They affect, in their oral tales, to have received it like the zea maize, by an angelic messenger from the Great Spirit. They offered the fumes of it to him, by burning it in their pipes. This ceremony always preceded solemn occasions. They then partook of the same oblation; and it is well known that they spend a large part of their leisure hours in the pastime of smoking. It is a custom, which marks them in a peculiar manner. “While it appears to be ancient, there is nothing more fixed in their habits. I have met them in far distant locations, in the wilderness, in a state of want for food, and yet the first request has been for tobacco. So fixed and general a habit would appear to connect itself with their geographical origin. Yet here we are quite at fault. There is no mention of the custom of smoking in the Sacred Volume. Abraham and Jacob when they were...

Household Utensils of the Plains Indians

In a preceding section, reference was made to baskets, which in parts of the Plateau area on the west, often served as pots for boiling food. They were not, of course, set upon the fire, the water within being heated by hot stones. Pottery was made by the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara, and probably by all the other tribes of the Village group. There is some historical evidence that it was once made by the Blackfoot and there are traditions of its use among the Gros Ventre, Cheyenne, and Assiniboin; but, with the possible exception of the Blackfoot, it has not been definitely credited to any of the nine typical tribes. We have no definite information as to how Plains tribes foods were boiled among these non-pottery making tribes before traders introduced kettles. Many tribes, however, knew how to hang a fresh paunch upon sticks and boil in it with stones (Fig. 30). Some used a fresh skin in a hole. Thus Catlin says: There is a very curious custom amongst the Assinneboins, from which they have taken their name; a name given them by their neigh bors, from a singular mode they have of boiling their meat, which is done in the following manner: when they kill meat, a hole is dug in the ground about the size of a common pot, and a piece of the raw hide of the animal, as taken from the back, is put over the hole, and then pressed down with the hands close around the sides, and filled with water. The meat to be boiled is then put in this hole...

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