Use of Tobacco by the North American Indians and the use of the Catlinite Pipes

On Saturday, May 2 at The 2009 Chicagoland Int’l Pipe & Tobacciana Show, John N. Low gave a 1-hour presentation entitled, "The Weird, Unusual, Imaginative and Curious Pipes". John N. Low is the Executive Director of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, IL

The Program for Mr. Low’s talk read as follows; "Mr. Low’s talk will focus on the use of tobacco by North American Indians and the use of Catlinite pipes. As a part of his presentation he will have with him items from the collections of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. Pipestone is a special red stone which has been quarried in what is now called Pipestone, Minnesota, for thousands of years. The Pipestone quarries are considered sacred ground by many American Indian people. All tribes could come here in peace and quarry this buttery soft red sacred stone. Today American Indian people still come to quarry the stone to make pipes and other articles. Objects and pipes made from the red pipestone (also known as Catlinite) have been eagerly collected ever since the white man first knew about the stone. Pipes and artifacts are found all over the United States, among the ruins of ancient Indian campsites and villages, tending to prove the Indians assertion that the quarry was a common gathering place for all the tribes, or at least, that all Indians knew the veneration attached to the stone. The name for the stone comes from the artist George Catlin who was an early visitor to the quarries in 1835."


We would like to thank the Chicago Pipe Collector’s Club for the exclusive rights of publishing their videos from the show.

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4 Responses

  • Very interesting. Natives smoked pipes for 10,000 years without anti-smoking nazis. They could have used a little pancake makeup on the heads though..

  • I’ve returned to this video time and again over the past year or so and I’ve discovered something new each and every time. Excellent documentation of the practices and beliefs of Native American pipe users.

  • what a great video, it’s always a treat to find out about these curiosities of pipe smoking