Your Story, Our Story

Reshawn Barrett, Staff Writer

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The ceremonial pipe is a very sacred item to the Native people. The pipe is an old item of the culture. I am a Native American, so I am very familiar with the pipe. The pipe is mainly used in ceremonies, or when you are at a powwow or a family get together. Usually the pipe carriers will fill their pipe with a medicine sacred to the Native people, which is tobacco. The pipe is used for healing or blessing the food we eat, or the regalia that the dancers wear. Tobacco is for our prayers to reach our spirits. The healing dress, or you can call it the jingle dress, is actually made out of the tin of a tobacco tin. The jingles make a beautiful noise to heal.

The pipe is used for healing and prayers. Here’s how you use it: you put the tobacco in the end of the pipe and you basically smoke it. You are not smoking it just to smoke, you are to be praying in either English or a Native language. You usually smoke it four times, North, South, East, and West. You don’t stop until all the tobacco is smoked. So the pipe man will pass it to the left of him, if it is a kid you tap in on your left and right shoulder. When you pass the pipe to the next person you turn the pipe clockwise. A pipe ceremony is usually for the family that is in need and there will be drums and food, and usually is a very good time with family.

During the ceremony the pipe man or the medicine man will say his prayers and sayings. He will usually be talking in his native language. While he is praying he will smoke to the four directions. Everyone participates, unless you are on your moon. At the end of the pipe ceremony the family and friends will make a plate of food for our ancestors. Elders usually get food first. In all a pipe is very spiritual.

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