The Wind is Blowing



There is a great deal of controversy about the size, shape and configuration of the "first" C'anupa Wakan.
    Some say the original Pipe was stolen many years ago while others say the Pipe is now on the Cheyenne River reservation at Green Grass, South Dakota.
     Still others say the Pipe was buried in the ground long ago and no one knows where.
    At same time, Looking Back Woman claims to have the real sacred Pipe.
    In His book, Quest for the Pipe of the Sioux: As Viewed From Wounded Knee, published posthumously in 1975, Riegert records the origin, linage, description and coming of the Pipe.
    I believe the Pipe I have is the Ceremonial Pipe held by Frank Fools Crow, Ceremonial Chief & Holy Man of the Western Teton Sioux and the same pipe that he and other leaders wanted recognized as the Ceremonial Pipe of the Lakota Nation."


   According to Lame Deer in 1935, there were two very old pipes that were kept together.

    It is said one pipe, brought by the Buffalo Calf Woman, is about a foot long and the stem is made from a buffalo leg bone and the bowl is made from a buffalo ankle bone.

    The other pipe, often referred to as the "First Pipe" was made by the chiefs per the instructions of the calf maiden using red pipestone.

   We also know from Sioux history that quite some time later fourteen (14) other pipes were made and patterned after the First Pipe.

    Two pipes were given to each of the seven Sioux Nations.

    One pipe was given to a man and the other to a woman. Both man and woman were equally recognized as keepers of the sacred medicine.

    Each Nation picked senior pipe carriers, a man and woman, who were ambassadors and they met with equals of other nations to keep the peace and encourage trade.

    This practice continued for centuries among the Sioux, Cree, Mandan, Ojibwa, and Assiniboine nations.

    If that is not enough to confuse the debate, fourteen (14) more pipes were made in the 1940's that were patterned exactly after the First Pipe.

    Frank Fools Crow commissioned Standing Eagle, aka, George Bryant, an Ojibwas-Lakota pipe maker in Pipestone, Minnesota to make duplicates from the First Pipe.

    It is conjectured that Fools Crow planned to use the pipes in a ceremony that would bring together and reunite the Seven Council Fires of the Sioux.

    It is thought that some of those duplicates made in the 1940's are still in existence today. One such pipe allegedly made during that time was recently advertised for sale on the internet for a price of $2,650.00.  Others say the Dupree Pipe is one of these.

    Since that time hundreds, if not thousands of pipes have been carved patterned after the First Pipe. It is reported that even Arvol Looking Horse commissioned a duplicate to be made.


    ffc002TN Fools Crow also had a duplicate pipe at the Russell Means trial in 1974.

    This pipe pictured sitting on the table in front of Fools Crow and Means and appears in Russell Means book "Where Whitemen Fear to Tread".

    The same pipe was used during the trial to swear in witnesses as an alternative to swearing in on the Bible.
    Frank Fools Crow made certain the historical
provenance of the Pipe was made part of court records.
    There are several ways to identify which among the hundreds of "First Pipes" is the original, or at least the oldest of the First Pipes in existence today.

    Documented descriptions by various elders provides an outline of its appearance, but none are sufficiently detailed to positively identify the Pipe.

    Carbon dating has been used successfully in many such cases and can help to determine the approximate age of a man-made carved object and help to settle the question of which is the oldest First Pipe.

    Everyone excepts the idea that the First Pipe was carved of catlinite – red pipestone, therefore, close inspection by experts of the 'wear patterns' on a carved pipe is also a good way to determine its estimated age.

    Comparison with other artifacts of similar age is another technique used to determine age.

    Scientific study of plant residues found inside the bowl can also be used to determine when and where a pipe was used.



Wilbur A. Riegert recounts his 1936 interview with Martha Bad Warrior, 3rd blood-line Keeper of the Sacred Calf Pipe:
    "…What a blessing to man. As then, so today and ever, prayer is the companion of peace for men, in every walk of life. So, my dear readers and interested followers of the Sacred Calf Pipe, the traditional and actual design of the Sacred Calf Pipe is such to bear the engravings of a white buffalo calf head, a turtle, and a spider.
    This is as I have seen the Pipe, and it is just as I here describe it, now for public knowledge. Further more, the redstone bowl is elbow- shaped and decorated with the form of a buffalo cow head…
    During the meeting with Martha Bad Warrior many pictures were taken of her holding the Sacred Calf Pipe as several family members, Andrew Dupris (my great-uncle) his wife, and Riegert's mother and others stood around her.
 "At that meeting my Mother was with me, standing behind Martha Bad Warrior and among the people. She was unexpressive throughout everything. But later she spoke to me of words related by Martha to the Elk Head brothers, interpreters for me, a message that none of her( Martha's) people, was worthy to become the keeper of the Sacred Calf Pipe."
     During the last year of her life, Martha became increasingly vocal about her disfavor in transferring the pipe to her unworthy family and selected a man to receive the Sacred Pipe who had stood by her many times in the past whom she knew to be a spiritually trustworthy and good person. Riegert describes how the Sacred Calf Pipe was transferred to Andrew Dupris:
    "So several days after my experience in the home of Martha Bad Warrior, Andrew Dupris and his wife came to me and asked if they could use my car for the evening. This request I granted them immediately. I asked no questions; they offered no reason for the request. I trusted Andrew completely, for he had proven himself trustworthy as a kinsman ought, just as did the Larabees, Elk Heads, Iron Lightening, Fielder, and others. I often thought of how many of these friendships started. There was only one explanation, it seemed: the part I played in running down information on family trees on the reservation and in supervising the distribution of food and clothing during the drought.

    "It was late at night when Andrew and his wife brought the car back and woke me on their arrival with it. They said they had gone to Martha Bad Warrior at her home in Green Grass. It was a meeting by appointment, they told me. Now, the surprise of a lifetime. They brought forth an object wrapped in a piece of calico stripping. As they unraveled it, they were exposing to me the original Sacred Calf Pipe, for it had the exact markings as were described by Martha and the Beautiful Lady from the sun. I asked Andrew to fill me in with the details."

    "Andrew said to me after Martha placed the Pipe in his hands, he and his wife went together out to a high hill near Martha's home and there paid homage to God in prayer, saluting Him in the four quarters of the universe and directing the Pipe to the North, the East, the South, and the West. Afterwards, bowing in great reverence to the presence of God, they turned and went to the car. From there they drove to where I was at the Cheyenne River Agency."

    "Wilbur," said Andrew, "rest assured I will leave the Pipe in the hands of a trusted one. He is an Indian and known by many as a true friend of the Indians. I will come back to you soon and talk more about the Pipe and its future."
    Andrew Dupris did at some point just before Martha passed away to transfer the Pipe to a "trusted one" — whom we assume today was Frank Fools Crow, ceremonial chief of the Teton Sioux. Looking Back Woman is not aware of any written family history that would indicate why Andrew Dupris decided to transfer the Sacred Pipe to the "trusted one", said Looking Back Woman.
    The following excerpt from "Quest for the Pipe of the Sioux", sheds further light on the character of Lucy Bad Warrior (Lucy Looking Horse) and the disposition of the Sacred Pipe.
    "After having seen the Pipe, I was sure, some years later, I had to visit a daughter of Martha who lived at Green Grass on the very grounds where her mother lived. Her home had burned down, as well as the little house where the bundle holding treasured pipes were kept. The daughter and her husband were living in a small frame house. When I asked to see the Sacred Calf Pipe, she said it would cost me $100.00. I asked why. "Why are you asking for money to see such a sacred instrument for our prayer?" She replied: "We have another pipe for religious purposes." Then I asked again: "Does the other pipe have objects carved on it?" And she answered no.
    Then I showed her photographs I had taken of all her relatives with herself standing directly behind her mother, but she denied being there at this meeting even though she was evidently there. I even gave her the pictures, and as I was driving away she started toward the home of her children, who were living in a house a hundred yards away. She appeared to be in a great hurry."

    "When I arrived home myself, I hashed things over with my sister Girly and my interpreter. We had to conclude that she, the daughter was looking for money. So, there was only one real Calf Pipe and Andrew Dupris and his wife had shown it to me."
(From Quest For The Pipe Of The Sioux: As Viewed From Wounded Knee (1975) By Wilbur A. Riegert )


    “…Holding up the pipe she said, With this sacred pipe you shall walk upon the Earth, for the Earth is your Grandmother and Mother and she is sacred.    Every step that is taken upon her should be taken as a prayer. The bowl of this pipe is of red stone; it is the Earth. Carved in the stone and facing the center is this buffalo calf who represents the four-leggeds who live upon your Mother. 
    The stem of the pipe is of wood, and this represents all that grows upon the Earth.
    And these twelve feathers that hangs here where the stem fits into the bowl are from Wambli Gleska, the Spotted Eagle, and they represent the eagle and all the wingeds of the air.
    All these peoples, and all the things of the universe, are joined to you who smoke the pipe — all send their voices to Wakantanka…”("The Sacred Pipe". Black Elk's account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux as recorded & edited by Joseph Epes Brown, 1953.)


    "…John Lame Deer Fire, a well known medicine man, told his story – In 1935, before anyone else at the meeting had done it, John said he went to Green Grass. There he met the old woman who was the Keeper of the Pipe.

    She said that she had expected him and that she had something to tell him. She knew that he came to see the Pipe and to pray with it.
    The Pipe was Iela wakan (very sacred), and only a few could pray with it.

    They went to an old shed, and she got the bundle. He cut the string and opened it.

    Inside, wrapped in much sage and with other things, were two Pipes.
    She pointed to the oldest Pipe; it was the most sacred.

    It was a little one, about a foot long. Its stem was made from one of the left front leg bones of a buffalo calf; the bowl was made from an ankle bone or something. The bowl was strapped to the stem with a leather thong. On either side of the bowl were little wing-like things protruding downward. The stem was very dry.

    A person had to be careful or part of the bone would flake off. The bowl was filled and capped with sage. The old woman said she was going to bury this Pipe to protect it and that only a few would know where she'd hide it. (John said he knew, but John is dead now. He didn't indicate any others who knew.)
    John said the woman told him that when the Pipe would have a good permanent home they could dig it up again and find it there.

    The woman said that it should not be handled or moved from place to place. It should be put in a place where no one could take pictures of it directly.

    In addition to the small bone pipe, John said there was a second Pipe.

   This one had a wooden stem about two feet long. It looked very much like the Pipes used today.
   The old woman told him that this was the first Pipe, the one made the way the maiden told the chiefs to make it…. Some [medicine men] maintained that the first Pipe had the image of a buffalo carved on the bowl…" 
(Stolzman, William; "The Pipe and Christ"; Tipi Press, SD, 1989)


    "There is much controversy about the sacred pipe. Its shape and size, for example are contested.

    Some hold that the original pipe was the traditional long-stemmed “peace pipe” used by the Lakota and other Indian people on ceremonial occasions at treaty councils held at the various forts.

    Others hold that it was a miniature long-stemmed pipe, like those made today and some displayed inside a dwelling as a “house pipe,” not to smoke but to remind people of their moral obligations.

    Others believe that the original sacred pipe was a “straight pipe” made from the femur of a deer and incised with geometric designs.    There is controversy over whether the original bowl made from catlinite was L-shaped or T-shaped , since both are common.

    And others argue over the proper decoration for the stem, ranging from the head of a mallard duck, a fan of eagle tail feathers, relief carvings of turtles and spiders, or something else.

    There is also disagreement on whether the sacred pipe that is currently kept by a sacred pipe keeper at Green Grass, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River reservation is the original pipe, since there are reports that the original was stolen.

    It is also debated whether a single line of people has had the responsibility of keeping the pipe all these years.

    But the controversy over religious symbols tends to strengthen belief, not diminish it.
    What is not disputed and perhaps represents the most important agreement is that the sacred pipe was brought to the Lakota people by a sacred woman called Ptchincalasan Win ‘White Buffalo Calf Woman…”

( "Oglala Women: Myth , Ritual and Reality" Marla M. Powers)
James Ritchie, archivist of Boissevain Community Archives and the Moncur Gallery said the Dupree pipe is ancient and it shows considerable wear. He noted, “it is an artifact at the top of its class."

    He also said the Pipe in the possession of Looking Back Woman is a significant historical artifact worthy of respect.

    Ritchie further says, "…The wear pattern on the pipe is extreme. The hairs on the buffalo are carved in local relief, as are the horns and face, and yet both are nearly worn flat — presumably by being handled over many years by many hands. As an archivist and museum curator, I know older genuine objects are rarely in pristine condition and this beaten up look tended to reinforce that perception."

    Neither the Pipe at Green Grass nor the Pipe in Looking Back Woman's possession have been scientifically studied, carbon dated or compared with each other to see which one is the oldest.

    According to James Ritchie, "…When I looked at what records I could find (mostly interviews) about the Looking Horse family I found two consistent things :
    1) a general consensus that Arvol is the "Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Cow Woman Bundle" and    2) there are no eye witness accounts of the pipe (or pipes) in the his family's possession after 1940 except for one possible reference by Mary Crow Dog to it at Wounded Knee circa 1972…"

    Ritchie also states, "…Our principal Dakota elder,… conducted oral history interviews on Sioux Valley Reserve and found that the elders there agreed that the pipe Suzanne has was brought to Sioux Valley Reserve by Frank Fools Crow during the last days of the Council of Seven Fires in the late 1940's. [He] said that they were quite sure about that, but no one knew what pipe it was…"

    It should be pointed out here that Ritchie admits he is not an expert in ancient relics and artifacts. He is an expert in old documents.

    Moreover, Ritchie points out that the words "Standing Eagle," written in English are carved on the bottom of the Pipe held by Dupree. Ritchie traced this signature to a 1940's era master pipe maker in Minnesota – George Bryan, who once repaired the pipe.
    What appeared to be a hairline crack or break had been repaired by Bryan with a very high skill level, but a little glue had extruded to reveal it. Otherwise the repair is nearly invisible.

   We conjecture that as an master pipe maker, Bryan — Standing Eagle — would not carve his name on the bottom of Dupree's Pipe if he were simply repairing it.
    For him to do otherwise in this case would be taking credit for actually making the Pipe. Did Bryan actually make Dupree's Pipe?

    Several Dakota elders in Canada living around the Turtle Mountain area in Canada also say they saw the same Pipe Looking Back Woman carries with Fools Crow in the 1930's — maybe the 1940s?  
    Marina Tucan is one such elder who recalls the Pipe vividly and has seen the Pipe Suzanne Dupree carries and says they are one in the same.

    Not a single person who knew Frank Fools Crow personally or only by reputation ever questioned the veracity of his actions or statements.
    Everyone knew him to be a holy man of great truth and integrity. Therefore, would Grandfather Fools Crow have attempted to use a fake C'anupa Wakan during the 1971-1975 Green Grass Sun Dance and Calf Pipe Ceremonies?

    Why did the great holy man and Ceremonial Chief of the Western Teton Sioux allow the sacred Pipe to be photographed so many times during these years?
    Did Fools Crow want it documented and acknowledged as 'the' real C'anupa Wakan, as Dupree alleges?
    Was he simply lax in his duties and didn't notice that pictures were being taken?
    Did he know it was a fake and was gambling that no one would notice?  
    Or, was that Pipe actually a duplicate that was a satisfactory symbol of the actual First Pipe?

 The Sacred Pipe


"The Sacred Pipe is a gift of communication and participation. It's power and sanctity is respected greatly. It is our relation to the untouchable. The sacred pipe is the earth and the sky. The heart and spirit of its people. Some say the sacred stone is the blood of our Mother Earth and our ancestors. It's spiraled smoke is our link to the Creator." – Black Crow 


   The Sacred Pipe in Dupree's possession fits the exact description that appears in Neihardt's book, "Black Elk Speaks" in 1932

    Controversy surrounding the sacred Pipe can be easily resolved by having them examined by independent scientists.

    Hundreds of ancient religious artifacts from almost every culture in the world has been studied to prove their authenticity and learn more about their origin and functions.

    In nearly every case, the benefactors of these studies have been the people, either by proving a fraud or verifying the authenticity and value of the object.

    If someone argues an object is ' too sacred' to be examined, as the Roman Catholic Church did for years in the case of Shroud of Turin, is it possible they are guided by fear of the truth, and not some religious principal?

    Under public pressure, the powerful Catholic Church finally relented to have the Shroud examined. Fortunately for Christians of all denominations, science was able to prove the Shroud is a true religious enigma.

    Refusal to allow the Sacred Pipe at Green Grass to be used in public ceremony because "…it is too old and fragile…" And, outsiders should not be allowed to view the pipe because "…it should not be viewed by skeptics," is a plausible view.

    However, how does this weigh against the potential for reviving the spiritual traditions of the people if the pipe were to be used in frequent open ceremonies?   
    Some claim those who use the 'too sacred to touch' argument are worried that truth will prevail.

    Others say the Keeper is being overly protective and needs to end the controversy.

    Still others say that as long as Lakota protocols are being followed, there is nothing wrong.

    On occasions the pipe bundle at Green Grass has been brought out in the company of a few chosen people.

    Reports about seeing the pipe during these events are mixed and confusing.

    A few say they definitely saw the pipe, while others attending the same event say the bundle was never actually opened.

    Does a single family line have all the power of keeping the pipe all these years?

    There is a great wind of public concern that is beginning to blow across the prairies.

In a May 2002 interview in the "Native Voice" magazine, the Keeper of the Sacred Bundle at Green Grass, Arvol Looking Horse says when he was a young boy (age 14 in 1968?) all the valuable material possessions of the Looking Horse family were removed from his home by Cheyenne River Band elders (Fools Crow and associates?).

    It does not state specifically in the article that the Pipe was taken at the same time. Thomas Mails, wrote two books about Lakota/Dakota religious ceremonies with the assistance of Grandfather Fools Crow. In the second book, “Wisdom and Power,” Mails relates an interview between Mails and Looking Horse at Sinte Gleske' College in 1974 (age 20), when Looking Horse told Mails this story:  After the pipe was was finally returned to him after being stolen (removed?), the buffalo standing on the pipe bowed its head, fell to its knees, laid down and disappeared completely, leaving in its place a symbol of the seven sacred ceremonies. Mails felt this story from Looking Horse was important.
    A television video made in 2000 has Looking Horse holding a pipe with a carved buffalo on top. In the televised interview, Looking Horse alleges the pipe he is holding is the Buffalo Calf Pipe, but the video plainly shows a pipe that is relatively new.
How and when the carved buffalo returned to the pipe in his possession has never been explained.

Dupree tells a story about a time when she and four friends were conducting a Releasing of the Soul Ceremony for her parents in Duncan, B.C. March 26, 2003.
    A message was delivered by a mutual acquaintance that allegedly Looking Horse was coming to take the C'anupa Wakan away from her while his film crew filmed everything.
    Looking Back Woman informed the woman, Edith, that her intrusion into the ceremonies was disruptive, however, she would be happy to welcome Looking Horse, who was but a short distance away at the time, and both his and her film crews would have her permission to view the opening of both bundles to end the controversy.
    Looking Horse did not come. Dupree has never had a direct conversation with Looking Horse, however she has requested a meeting in the past with no response.
    Did Looking Horse send the mutual acquaintance to see Dupree? If so, why did he want her Pipe? Would Looking Horse agree to a meeting with Dupree?

In his book White Buffalo Teachings and numerous other documented instances, Looking Horse says that "not long after the Flood" was when the Sacred Pipe was brought to the people by the White Buffalo Calf Woman.  
    In other writings, Looking Horse says she came over two thousand years ago.
    The legend as retold by various elders over the years say the Sioux were living on the Great Plains at that time the Calf Maiden came to the people, but we know from tribal history the Sioux arrived on the Plains between the mid-1400s to 1500s or later.
    Is Looking Horse unfamiliar with Sioux history? Or, what is the purpose of these embellishments to the story?
"Part of the protocols of the true Lakota religion is to not lie (embellish), cheat or steal. When someone was found to be embellishing for recognition or power, they were cast out from the tribe by the Council of Chiefs governing that band.
    If someone did any of these offences, they were not allowed to conduct ceremony.
    Above all, there was no charge for participating in the Sun Dance or any ceremony… it was by donation only.   Invitation was by word of mouth. This is the “Old Way” and is still practiced by true Lakota spiritualists, like Peter V. Catches Jr.    It is not traditional Lakota ceremony if there is a set fee for ceremony. Like Fools Crow taught, everyone is welcomed as long as they adhere to the rules of protocol.

    I do not discount the good works Looking Horse has done, but we must keep our spiritual history true to it's past. I understand what has happened and why it has happened.

    Poverty or greed are not reasons to charge for ceremony — as if it were as business though a lot of so-called medicine people are doing this. I speak from personal knowledge about this.

    For example, after my Yuwipi Ceremony in Kaslo in 1997, a well-known Lakota leader and one of the so-called Twelve Good Men who signed the infamous Green Grass Proclamation telephoned me.
   He demanded that I use him instead of Dustin Jaymes Shot With Two Arrows because Dustin was half Mexican and half Lakota and I should not use him because of this.

    In order to perform ceremony for me, this so-called spiritual leader demanded a ten thousand dollar speaking fee, $150 per person with a 100 person minimum, plus expenses for himself and three helpers.

    A Ceremonial leader may accept money only for transportation, related travel expense and food. The same thing holds true for dancers, singers and others who are part of the ceremonies.
    Any other amount of money or gifts from the host must be given from the heart for the general assistance of the ceremonial leader and participants and may not be requested or demanded by them.

     Sometime after this incident, another so-called medicine man came to my home. As he sat holding the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe in his arms, he related how he was given permission by the same well-known Lakota leader to conduct and charge for ceremonies — as long as some of the money found its way back into his [the Lakota leader’s] pockets. This man since died an anguishing death.

    Who told these people they have the right to charge for ceremonies? They appear to be giving each other the right to conduct ceremonies for money.
    Embellishments to our sacred ways have gotten away on these people and an unknowing public.

    We must rebuild the Hoop of Life with all living things on Mother Earth. We must have a firm foundation of truth to stand on.
    We do not need the face-saving stories of misguided people.
    Our children need to know the truth.
    We must tell the truth and not make up things to suit our needs."