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Native American Lakota star Women and the PipeNative American Lakota star
By Susan Bates

Please respect this copyrighted material. It is not to be duplicated for any purpose without explicit written permission from the copyright holder.                                          *Page Updated on: 04/26/2010

     While every nation has its own customs and traditions, Chickamauga / Cherokee women never smoked a Ceremonial pipe with a man. The story of how the Cherokee got the pipe explains this taboo and has been handed down since the dawn of time.

     Men, being men, were always at war with someone. They fought over every imaginable thing you could think of. The women paid the highest price for this aggressive behavior as they were always losing husbands and sons, fathers and uncles.

     One day Creator brought the women a gift. It was a pipe. He told them that when their men felt like going to war they should give them this pipe fired with sacred tobacco to smoke. By the time the pipe was finished, the men would have had time to think about what they were about to do and not go rushing into battle. And it worked most of the time.

Women are the life givers with strong powers of their own. Our powers do not mix with the equally strong powers of the men so we never smoke a pipe with them. The pipe bowl and stem are always separate and made of different materials and symbolize male and female energy coming together- each different and each necessary.

A woman past her moontime could smoke a personal pipe for praying and pleasure if she chose to. No matter what Nation you are descended from, it is important to understand the original teachings of that People because there are good reasons behind them. Many tribes allow women and men to smoke a pipe together. That is fine. But be very careful you know what you are doing before you bring dishonor on a sacred ceremony.

     It is often difficult to know the truth because there are so many books and web pages floating around written by purported 'experts' on the subject who have never invested the time and effort to learn the ancient and sacred ways. But the truth is out there. Look for it!

Reprinted from Country Road Chronicles, March 2002.

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