Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers

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Boozhoo, SiYo, Hau koda

We hope you enjoy our site! We hope it gives our readers a better understanding of our American Indian culture, the use of pipes; and the history of the pipes by our American Indian Tribes. We do not pretend to know all or to represent one teaching and we welcome your contribution or comments about what we share.  Many people refer to our plains style pipe as a peace pipe.  Peace Pipe is not the proper name for our stone pipes but is how many people identify our special pipes and differentiate our pipestone pipes from those used as pleasure smoking pipes.

In our stores you can purchase authentic American Indian Made Arts & Crafts or learn more about the artists. 

The Keepers of The Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers Goals          

    1. Archiving the histories, stories and styles of the pipes and their uses by Native American Tribes and sharing them with the world.

    2. Bring together and sponsor Spiritual leaders, teachers, storytellers, and artists to share their knowledge in schools, during events or for training.

    3. Continue Native Arts workshops, Native Storytelling & lectures.

    4. Promoting Unity - bring together the four colors of man.

    5. Sponsor cultural awareness exchanges to promote and teach Native culture & arts throughout the US and in foreign countries.

 Keepers was formed in 1996 to protect the Pipestone Quarries in Pipestone Minnesota for all Tribal People. At that time there were various groups around Indian country saying the Quarries should belong to them only and not all Tribal nations. We are a 501C3 non profit Tribal spiritual organization with members all over the world and from more than 35 Tribal Nations.  We believe in preserving the Sacred Tradition of the pipe and allowing free access to the Great Pipestone Quarries for all Native American's as they have been for time immemorial and support the art of pipemaking.  We also believe it is important to preserve each tribes unique culture, arts and stories for future generations. With your help we can unite all people and help heal mother earth.  The Sacred pipes are just one tool in achieving that goal. We do many presentations in schools and with prison groups to share our tribal cultures and the history of these Pipes and the Pipestone quarries in Pipestone MN. The Great Pipestone Quarries of Minnesota have been a special place or sacred site for American Indian Tribal people for over 1,000 years. Many nations of people came to these quarries; including the Sac-Fox, Otto, Mandan, Kiowa, Hidatsa, Dakota, Lakota, Cheyenne and Ojibwa as well as many other Native American tribes. The pipes made of this stone, called Catlinite by Europeans, withstood the heat well without cracking and was easily worked with flint tools. Therefore the Pipestone quarried here became a very precious trade item. Trade and travel dispersed pipestone through out the Tribal Nations from Hudson Bay Canada to the Anazazi and Aztec of Mexico. The Pipestone region became the major crossroads for trade. This north south Trade route first used by our tribal people became the corridor the Europeans used and later major highways including highway 75. We are a non-profit 501 C3 American Indian Spiritual organization our office and stores are located in Pipestone, Minnesota. Thanks for shopping our gift shops

Pipestone Is Pipestone is a soft red clay formation stone found in Pipestone Minnesota which has been used by our tribal people for more than 3,000 years to make effigies, pipes and sometimes other items.  Pipestone was named Catlinite by early whites because George Catlin came to these quarries and documented what he saw. Black Pipe is a black clay formation stone similar to Pipestone but is black in color and found in Kanora Canada instead of Pipestone Minnesota.  Both stones are great for making pipes and other carvings the black stone is a little harder than the red stone.

What is a traditional pipe?An elder once told me that tradition only goes back one generation to the person who taught you.  Pipe styles popular today like the t-pipe or plains pipe were not popular a few hundred years ago.  Back then you saw mostly elbow pipes, go back a few more years and you would see effigy pipes and lip pipes.  One of the oldest known pipes is called a tube pipe or cloud blower, because it is shaped like a tube or cigar.  You would also need to consider the area or tribe when talking about what is traditional since the black pipe was the pipe of choice for many northern plains tribes and woodland  tribes such as the Ojibewa, but the red pipestone pipes became more popular as tribes like the Dakota and the Lakota moved out to the plains.  Color was not the only difference in pipe styles between the tribes you would see more large elbow pipes, crested pipes or disk pipes in the north and smaller plains pipes, elbow pipes, and effigy pipes to the south.  After deciding on a year and a tribe with a little time you may be able to research and find a traditional pipe for you.  Many times the right pipe for you might be based on your teachings, a dream, or a spirit helper.  Sometimes a pipe just grabs and talks to you and you can't go home without it.  I hope this helps you answer that question for you.

Medicine Wheel There are four colors in the medicine wheel each tribe and or individual may choose any colors they like it can be based on a dream or vision or on another teaching.  We wanted to share with you one of those teachings about the medicine wheel with the colors red, black, white and yellow.   The medicine wheel represents a philosophy of life each of these colors representing the four colors of man here on Mother Earth and reminding us of our connectedness. This wheel reminds us that we are all related, by embracing this philosophy and concept we are embracing everyone and everything as a relative.  Black represents the unknown, the fears we must face in our lives, and the Thunder Being Nations.  White represents Spirit Waziyata the Great Giant of the North and Mother Earths white blanket.  Yellow represents the rising sun and the newness each day.  Red represents the road which we travel to the Spirit World.  It represents the Sacred Road we travel during our life. The colors went in this order, but many years ago a prophecy was told about Mother Earth and the changes she was going through.  When this prophecy was told the colors changed to remind us that they would not change back until the time was at hand.  Around 1995 during a fast and Sun Dance on the Sioux reservation in South Dakota the Spirit informed the people that the time was at hand.  The colors were then changed back to the original direction.  Medicine wheels are given many different colors, but the main concept remains the same we are all related. The medicine wheel can be used for decoration on a pipe bags, medicine bag, leather shirts, pipe stems and more.