of the Lakota Peace Pipe
Native American Lore
Long ago, two young and handsome Lakota were chosen by their band to find out where the
buffalo were. While the men were riding in the buffalo country, they saw someone in the
distance walking toward them.
always they were on the watch for any enemy. So they hid in some bushes and waited. At
last the figure came up the slope. To their surprise, the figure walking toward them was a
she came closer, she stopped and looked at them. They knew that she could see them, even
in their hiding place. On her left arm she carried what looked like a stick in a bundle of
sagebrush. Her face was beautiful.
of the men said, "She is more beautiful than anyone I have ever seen. I want her for
the other man replied, "How dare you have such a thought? She is wondrously beautiful
and holy -- far above ordinary people."
still at a distance, the woman heard them talking. She laid down her bundle and spoke to
them. "Come. What is it you wish?"
man who had spoken first went up to her and laid his hands on her as if to claim her. At
once, from somewhere above, there came a whirlwind. Then there came a mist, which hid the
man and the woman. When the mist cleared, the other man saw the woman with the bundle
again on her arm. But his friend was a pile of bones at her feet.
man stood silent in wonder and awe. Then the beautiful woman spoke to him. "I am on a
journey to your people. Among them is a good man whose name is Bull Walking Upright. I am
coming to see him especially."
on ahead of me and tell your people that I am on my way. Ask them to move camp and to
pitch their tents in a circle. Ask them to leave an opening in the circle, facing the
north. In the center of the circle, make a large tepee, also facing the north. There I
will meet Bull Walking Upright and his people."
man saw to it that all her directions were followed. When she reached the camp, she
removed the sagebrush from the gift she was carrying. The gift was a small pipe made of
red stone. On it was carved the tiny outline of a buffalo calf.
pipe she gave to Bull Walking Upright, and then she taught him the prayers he should pray
to the Strong One Above. "When you pray to the Strong One Above, you must use this
pipe in the ceremony. When you are hungry, unwrap the pipe and lay it bare in the air.
Then the buffalo will come where the men can easily hunt and kill them. So the children,
the men, and the women will have food and be happy."
beautiful woman also told him how the people should behave in order to live peacefully
together. She taught them the prayers they should say when praying to their Mother Earth.
She told him how they should decorate themselves for ceremonies.
earth," she said, "is your mother. So, for special ceremonies, you will decorate
yourselves as your mother does -- in black and red, in brown and white. These are the
colours of the buffalo also."
all also remember that this is a peace pipe that I have given you. You will smoke it
before all ceremonies. You will smoke it before making treaties. It will bring peaceful
thoughts into your minds. If you will use it when you pray to the Strong One Above and to
Mother Earth you will be sure to receive the blessings that you ask."
the woman had completed her message, she turned and slowly walked away. All the people
watched her in awe. Outside the opening of the circle, she stopped for an instant and then
lay down on the ground. She rose again in the form of a black buffalo cow. Again she lay
down and then arose in the form of a red buffalo cow. A third time she lay down, and arose
as a brown buffalo cow. The fourth and last time she had the form of a spotlessly white
buffalo cow. Then she walked toward the north into the distance and finally disappeared
over a far-off hill.
Walking Upright kept the peace pipe carefully wrapped most of the time. Every little while
he called all his people together, untied the bundle, and repeated the lessons he had been
taught by the beautiful woman. And he used it in prayers and other ceremonies until he was
more than one hundred years old.
he became feeble, he held a great feast. There he gave the pipe and the lessons to
Sunrise, a worthy man. In a similar way the pipe was passed down from generation to
generation. "As long as the pipe is used," the beautiful woman said, "Your
people will live and will be happy. As soon as it is forgotten, the people will
Page created by;Cherokee Wolf
May 14. 1999