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American Indian Pipes (Calumet)

Tobacco, indigenous to North America, followed Indian trade routes throughout the continent long before Columbus arrived, and pipe smoking took on a ritual and religious importance in many tribes. Naturally, the crafting of pipes became equally important. The most famous Native American pipes are the long calumets or "peace pipes" of the Sioux and other Plains Indian tribes, which were made by attaching a wooden stem to a bowl carved from catlinite or "pipestone." (Pipestone is native to Minnesota, but due to intertribal trade was available throughout Native North America.) Other native pipe-making traditions included the smaller one-piece stone and ceramic pipes of the Iroquois and Cherokee tribes, wood and antler pipes of the Southwest Indians, and the post-Columbian tomahawk pipes with a metal pipe bowl and hatchet on opposite ends of the stem.

If you are looking to buy pipes that were actually made by Native Americans--either because it's important to you to have the real thing or because you want to support native people with your purchase--then here is our directory of American Indian pipe artists whose carvings are available online. If you have a website of Indian pipes to add to this list, let us know. We gladly advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art store here free of charge, provided that all pipes were made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists.

Thank you for your interest in Native American art!



Native American Pipes

On our main site we do our best to avoid slowing down our page loading with graphics, but this page is about art, so we'd really be remiss in not showing a few representative pipe pictures. All photos are the property of their respective artists; please visit their sites to see their pipe carving in more depth.

Ancient Ways Calumet Pipes
Plains Indian pipes from the Wind River reservation, traditionally carved from catlinite pipestone by Shoshone and Arapaho artists.
Neokistomi Indian Pipes
Beaded pipestone pipes by Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot artists.
Four Winds Indian Pipes
Artistic Native American pipes in historical and contemporary styles by a Choctaw Indian pipe carver.
Iroquois Stone Pipes
Traditional stone carved pipes by Iroquois artists from the Six Nations Reserve.
Navajo Peace Pipes
Leather-wrapped antler pipes made by two Navajo craftsmen.

Native American Pipe Bags

Arapaho Indian Pipe Bags
Traditional Plains Indian carrying cases for the peace pipe, made of beaded buckskin with fringework.
Blackfoot Beaded Pipebags
Another Plains Indian artist selling lovely calumet bags with traditional beadwork.

Books About Indian Pipes

Offering Smoke: Sacred Pipes and Native American Religion The Sacred Pipe Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American Aborigines Greengrass Pipe Dancers
Overview of the history, mythology, ceremony, and symbolism of the Native American pipe in various tribes. Black Elk's 1947 description of Lakota Sioux pipe ceremonies. An 1899 anthropology book, very dated but some good history of Indian pipe traditions. Autobiography of a Micmac man bringing Crazy Horse's pipe bag back to his Lakota Sioux tribe. Good story, also with interesting material on the significance of the peace pipe.

Links About Indian Pipes

Here are some other good internet resources for learning about or purchasing Native American pipes:

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act: US law against passing off fake American Indian crafts as genuine.
What constitutes Indian art fraud, and how to report it if you find it.
Different Types of Calumets: Calumet pictures and photographs, and descriptions of Indian pipes from Lewis and Clark's expedition.
Calumet or Peace-pipe of the Indians: Anthropology article on American Indian pipes..
Catlinite: A description of how pipestone catlinite is mined and carved.
Lakota Ceremonial Sacred Pipe Songs: Traditional pipe songs by a Lakota Sioux elder.
Keepers of The Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers: Information on the pipestone quarries and carving of sacred pipes by a nonprofit intertribal group.
Native American Arts and Crafts: Orrin contributed to this larger directory of Indian crafts, many of which are authentic.
Native American Cultures: View our pages for individual Indian tribes, most of which have artistic information.

About us: This website belongs to Native Languages of the Americas, an indigenous language non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting endangered Native American languages. We are not artists ourselves, so if you are interested in buying some of the pipes featured on this page, please contact the artists directly. Though we have featured only Native American pipes identified with the name and tribal affiliation of each artist, we haven't called the tribal offices to check up on any of them, and we only know a few of them personally. We also don't guarantee any of their products. This is not an exhaustive list of Native American pipes--if you would like us to add your pipe site to this page, please contact us with your URL and tribal affiliation. We advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art business here free of charge. We do not link to peace pipes which are not made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists, so please do not ask us to. And finally, websites do occasionally expire and change hands, so use your common sense and this general rule of thumb: if the creator of each individual artwork is not identified by name and specific tribe, you are probably not looking at a genuine Native American pipe.



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