Ken "Howdy Davis" will return with his personal information






By: Howdy Davis

When the white mountain men encountered the Indians on friendly terms they smoked a pipe to symbolize friendship and honesty: at least on the part of the Indian. 

Many years ago my wife, Frannie, and I were married in a Lakota Sioux Indian ceremony. Part of that ceremony was the pipe, of which we had to have knowledge and an understanding of the seriousness of the undertaking. The pipe is also used in the opening ceremonies at many rendezvous we attend. I often wonder if everyone there understand what is really going on. The simplest explanation is that the smoke carries your prayers into the heavens. The same is true with the sacred fire. These ceremonies are always meant to promote a good feeling, and I suppose it does: to most. 

There are as many versions of how the pipe came about as there are Indian tribes. For our wedding I had already built a bachelor’s pipe. It was made of the red pipe stone and so designed that it came straight out with the bowl pointing straight up. After we were married I had to build a new pipe signifying that I was now a married man. The new pipe has a two inch protrusion out beyond the bowl. All of this was done under the guidance of an Indian shaman and a priestess. 

The following is the story of how the pipe came to the Sioux: At the time, the Sioux lived in the northern plains of what is now the United States and southern Canada. The Ogalala Sioux teach an object lesson about evil thoughts and use of the pipe. Long before the white men came to Sioux country, the worst snowstorm that anyone could remember blew in from the north. Cold, bitter winds chased the buffalo far south and there was almost nothing to eat. The people began to die. 

The chiefs held a meeting and decided that the two strongest hunters should go out to find game. If they succeeded the people could eat, become strong again, and go somewhere warmer and search for the buffalo. The chiefs chose Big Bear and Red Horse for the job. 

The two hunters went out and searched very hard, enduring much in the bitter winter world, but they found only one small rabbit, which they roasted over a fire.

The hot food gave them strength to begin their trip home. As they neared camp, Red Horse saw a figure approaching. As it got closer they saw that it was a beautiful girl, dressed all in white buckskins and with a white feather in her long braids. She carried a long-stemmed pipe made of a deer hoof and decorated with white feathers. Big Bear whispered, “Oh, she is beautiful. She would make me a good wife.” But Red Horse told him the girl was not looking for a husband, but was a sign that something wonderful would happen. 

The girl told Red Horse that she knew they had hunted everywhere and were only able to find a rabbit. “Your people are starving,” she said, “so the Great Spirit sent me to help you by giving you this sacred peace pipe.” Red Horse accepted the gift and the girl explained how to use it. She said, “When your people are in need, clear all evil from your mind and offer a prayer to the north, east, south, and west. But he must be very careful,” she said. For if he said his prayer with even one evil thought he would be destroyed. Then she looked at Big Bear and told him she could not marry. “I was sent by the Great Spirit, and to think of marrying me is evil.” With that, she turned and walked toward the forest. 

When she was too far away to hear, Big Bear said, “But she needs a brave husband like me.” Just then an elk appeared and paused nearby. But when the hunters drew their bows, the elk disappeared. “See,” Red Horse said to Big Bear, “you cannot think selfish thoughts. Think of the peace pipe.” Suddenly a heavy fog rolled and when it left there was but a pile of bones in the snow where Big Bear had been. 

Red Horse went back to camp and told his people what had happened. The chiefs looked at the pipe and agreed that the Great Spirit had spoken, and from then on the Sioux have used the peace pipe. 

Indians say that the Cheyenne River tribe keeps the original peace pipe. They show it only on special occasions and even then only to worthy people. The National Museum of the American Indian was located in New York City at the time of our wedding. I believe it has been moved. It had the majority of the Indian artifacts in this country. My thanks to Tory Corner who told us this legend.


period archery pertaining to those than went before us.

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