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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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AFTER A DEATH IN THE FAMILY ALL THE UNMARRIED GIRLS IN THE
FAMILY WOULD WEAR THEIR HAIR DOWN TO SYMBOLIZE THE
ATTENDANCE OF THE DECEASED AT THEIR WEDDING. (THE CUSTOM
WAS FOR BRIDES TO WEAR THEIR HAIR LONG AND UNPLAITED
UNDER THEIR VEILS).

Submitter comment: INFORMANT REMEMBERS THAT SHE AND HER SISTERS DID THIS
AFTER HER FATHER'S DEATH EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ONLY ABOUT
EIGHT YEARS OLD AT THE TIME. SHE BELIEVES THAT THIS WAS
A POLISH CUSTOM BROUGHT TO MANITOBA, CANADA BY POLISH
SETTLERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CANADA ; DETROIT ; MANITOBA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 12-18-1963

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A REDDISH RING AROUND THE MOON FORETELLS OF HIGH
WINDS THE NEXT DAY.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A STRONG BELIEF OF THE INFORMANT. I OFTEN
REMEMBER HER MENTIONING SUCH A STATEMENT. FIRST
TIME WAS WHEN I WAS WALKING OUTSIDE WITH HER AND
HEARD HER MENTIONING THIS BELIEF.

Where learned: CANADA ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Wind Whirlwind Hurricane Cyclone Tornado

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Ethnic: Native American

Use of the Pipe During a Wedding:

The married couple standing together before the priest for the nuptial blessing could both hold the same Pipe with the right hands, stem away from themselves. This would be a perfect ceremonial sign of the words of the priest. The Nuptial Blessing contains the type of prayer which is most nautral to the Pipe.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; CEREMONY ; CUSTOM ; ETHNIC ; MARRIAGE ; Native American ; PRAYER ; WEDDING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

To Offer the Pipe:

After the pipe is filled it is offered silently in the four directions, skyward and earthward by pointing the stem away from the body while holding the bowl in the right hand. Nowone is prepared to hold the Pipe in two hands in any way that is comfortable or meaningful to the individual. Or else it is held in the right hand and the left is extended above the head palm outward. This ritual is a powerful sign with which to surroung an invocation or prayer just like the ceremonies of the Mass are signs surrounding the words of consecration. One can fell [sic] as comfortable performing the Pipe Ritual as he does the ceremonies of the Mass.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; CUSTOM ; ETHNIC ; Mass ; Native American ; PRAYER ; RELIGION ; RITUAL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

To Fill the Sacred Pipe:

Offer a pinch of tobacco in the four directions starting with any direction that you wish but always moving in a clockwise direction. After each pinch of tobacco is offered it is out into the bowl of the Pipe The starting point varies from man to man according to his individual vision or insight. The usual strating points are the west, north or east. I habe never run across anyone starting in the south. The following is an example of one starting with the west. Offering northward contains a prayer for the strength since this is where te cold winds and the flying snow comes from. Offering tobacco eastward contains a prayer for the light and understanding and southward a plea for new life since it is the source of warm winds and green grass. One does not pray aloud but rather silently. The tobacco is offerd skyward since this reminds us that we are walking in the Prescence of God towards Mother Earth to fill us with graditude for all the gifts we receive through creation. Symbolically one gathers the entire universe into his prayers. For one Indian the west was the place of the setting sun, the north the buffalo, the east the morning star, and the south the white swan.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; Compass Point ; CUSTOM ; ETHNIC ; Native American ; Pipe ; PRAYER ; RELIGION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

Prayer at the Time of a Wake:

Almighty God, we pray to you at this time so that we might understand your loving Providence in our lives. We know that the world is a sweat lodge, a place of purification, that our span of life is a time of trial. When our purification has been accomplished, we must step through the door of death into the light of eternal happiness. No one regrets leaving the hot darkness of the sweat lidge to the cool light og the world we live in. So lord, remove all spirit and rebellion from our hearts at a time when the soul of ______ had finished his (her) purification and gone into eternal life. Give us the strength to live by this vision, so that it can heal the wounds of grief and restore your peace in our hearts. Give us a greater understanding of the wonderful work of your redemption on the sacred Road of LIfe. Let us all be mindful that we share in Christ rising to a new life of complete happiness for all eternity. Let us pray that all traces of sin be removed from his (her) soul sop that the anfels of God may bring him (her) into paradise. We ask you these graces through the Blessed virgin Mary, St. Joseph and Jesus Christ who is and ever shall be the Living and Eternal Pipe. Amen.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; CUSTOM ; DEATH ; ETHNIC ; Funeral ; Native American ; PRAYER ; RELIGION ; Soul ; WAKE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

Before the prayers, say "remember man that the Pipe of your earthly life" will some day be broken. Then take bowl and stem apart and lay on coffin.

After the prayers in the ritual, then take two parts of the Pipe into your hands and say: "Through the Resurrection of Christ, the life of _____and all of us will be brought together into eternal happiness." Then in the four directions, point the Pipe to the sky and say "I am the Living and Eternal Pipe, the Ressurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me, even if he die [sic] shall live: and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die." Repeat this in each of the four direction. At the end point the Pipe to the sky and touch the Earth with the bowl.

Submitter comment:

The informant advises that the Pipe be already filled with tobacco. This is the most powerful prayer I have experienced with the Pipe and produces a deep impression on many people.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BELIEF ; CUSTOM ; DEATH ; ETHNIC ; Funeral ; Native American ; PRAYER ; RELIGION ; RITUAL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

To Smoke the Pipe:

If the Pipe is smoked it is done at the conclusion of the prayers. The idea is the same as the new liturgical emphasis in the social aspect of Holy Communion. It is done for fostering the sense of community and to express the unity there is between all the people present as well as with all mankind and all creation. The Pipe is lit by the leader, smoked and passed clockwise. Women can kiss th Pipe in stead of smoking it. After one kisses or smokes the Pipe, he says "For the sake of our relatives." Relatives primarily include men but animals as well. As far as Holy Communion is concerned this is probably the closest the Plains Indian symbol there is. The point can be made that the Plains INdians were striving for the same religious values as Catholics do when they receive Holy Communion with a sense of community in mind. When the Pipe has been passed around, it is handed back to the leader who smokes it again, empties the ashes and the ceremony is completed. Although the smoking of the Pipe would be done in restricted circumstances, there are times when it could be most powerful.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BELIEF ; CUSTOM ; ETHNIC ; Native American ; Pipe ; PRAYER ; RELIGION ; RELIGIOUS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic: Native American

The Pipe:

The place to start in liturgical adaptation is to use the Sacred Pipe as a prayer instrument. This will probably in time lead to the Pipe as an official sacramental like holy water. The Pipe is a wonderful symbol of Christ because it is the instrument of the mediator in the Sioux Religion just as the Sacred Humanity is the instrument of Christ the Mediator in our Christian Religion. Christ fulfills the Pipe rather than destroys it since He does in a more perfect way what the person praying with the Pipe does in an imperfect way. The Pipe, then, is the great Sioux foreshadowing of Christ in HIs Priestly Office. A person who understands and appreciates the Sacred Pipe will be disposed and not hindered from accepting Christ. I have found this true from experience. The Pipe must be purified, even exorcised if necessary like Holy Water and "baptized." When this is done, it is no longer the same Pipe which the early missionaries condemned. Once a person, whether Indian or non-Indian had this vision, he can no longer pray with the Pipe in exactly the same way as before. This is most important to remember: we are no longer talking about the same exact Pipe as the early missionaries because they did not see it in this way.

The Sacred Pipe is the religious symbol which is at the center of every traditional religious ceremony which all Indians of the Plains performed. It would be well to read one book, The Sacred Pipe, by Joseph E. Brown, Oklahoma Press (republished this year). In this account of Nicholas Black Elk, one of the great Catholic catechists on the Pine Ridge Reservation, we see all that the Pipe might stand for. If we want to grasp and summarize all the true cultural religious values of the Sioux Religion, then we must make our approach to adaptation beginning with the Sacred Pipe. If someone would build a Gothic Church, sing (a) Gregorian chant and wear Roman vestaments and at the same time reject the Sacred Humanity of Christ, this would be faulty acceptance of the Catholic Religion. The same is literally true of adapting the externals of the Sioux Religion such as language, music, beadwork, etc. without the Pipe. Whatever is said of the Sioux Religion is true of all the Plains Indians.

By adapting the Pipe we are getting at the natural starting point in their own minds. When you have taken the Pipe into the Catholic Church, you have taken in the essential good of their religion. Does this mean that we need to take in all their religious values without careful examination? No, some of these must be purified or even rejected. The advantage of starting with the Pipe as a prayer instrument (which it always was in their tradition) is that it creates a frequent occasion for dialog with the Indian people and for becoming involved in conversations which were closed to one before. It is most important to talk to the Indian people in an atmosphere of sympathetic acceptance to learn what the Pipe really means to them.

There will be good Catholic Indians who will not want to accept the Pipe because it has been condemned by some Fathers. It is important here to give time for new ideas to seep in. It took three or four months for one of my good Catholic full bloods to accept the use of the Pipe by the priest because of past condemnation. But when the idea finally got across that we are "baptizing" the Pipe, he said with great joy that he "wanted to be the godfather." It wasn't that he did not love the Pipe, but rather he rejected whatever the Fathers told him was bad regardless of how dear it was to him. A person could have taken his first reaction to the Pipe during those first several months as an argument against using the Pipe. But as it turned out, just the opposite is true. In fact, the injustice on our part for denying him the use of his own religious culture which he valued becomes evident. That is why the only way we can continue to discuss liturgical adaptation of Indians culture and make decisions concerning it, is to actually use the Pipe, begin a dialog and give sufficient time for honest reactions to become known.

One great advantage to using the Pipe for many communities is that it does not necessarily involve the Lakota language or Indian language of any Plains Tribe. If a community is almost entirely Indian speaking, using the language is good. But if the community is split, then the Indian language drives the full blood and the mixed bloods into the disunity of the ghettos. I don't think it is advisable to have a Mass just for Indian speaking people and one for non-Indian speaking people. This will never create the Christian Community. On the other hand, the Pipe is a symbol and a symbol can mean different people. [sic]  To many full bloods it still has a very literal appeal because they are still living in some way in the traditional world. These people have often been leading double lives. There are probably more Indians going through the sweat lodge and making a fast or vision quest on top of the hill than most people realize.

However, to the non-Indian speaking mixed blood the Pipe should be a symbol of his Indian identity and help enable him to accept his Indian identity with pride. Fr. Bryde's thesis is that there is a social pathology involved in today's Indian Culture and the place to start for everyone, full and mixed blood alike, is to build a pride in their Indian identity. This is what the use of the Pipe in the liturgy can do as well as to unite a fragmented community. In comparison to the above approach, the singing of a white man's son[g]s translated to the Indian was a useful but very weak approach to adaptation. It served its purpose in its own time.

In conclusion, the starting point is to use the Pipe as a prayer instrument and be prepared for open dialog with the Indian People. This use is in complete conformity with our Catholic Faith and should requite [sic] the permission of a local superior only. Eventually, it may become an official sacramental requiring the permission of the Bishop. Thus we are putting the Pipe in a very precise place that we can easily defend and explain so that we can have confidence that we know what we are doing. This is a small beginning since we can hardly do less. If we never go any further than this, we still have enriched the Catholic Church with a wonderful cultural gift and we have allowed the Indian people to accept their Indian identity at least to some extent when they become Catholic. However, when this step is taken, other developments will appear. I use the Pipe as a prayer instrument because I pray with more meaning and greater sincerity. The prayers and rituals will follow.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; Tekakwitha Conference ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BELIEF ; CATHOLICISM ; Colonialism ; Essay ; ETHNIC ; Native American ; RELIGION ; RELIGIOUS ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

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Ethnic:Polish

Naming:

It is a custom in Poland, that a child is not given the name of a living grandparent, for fear that either the grandparent or the child will die within seven years.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: CANADA ; WINNIPEG ; MANITOBA

Keyword(s): CHILDREN ; Cultural ; CUSTOM ; ETHNIC ; FAMILY ; Naming ; POLAND

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

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