Soapstone elbow pipe with wooden stem
Plains Cree, 19th century
From Saskatchewan, North America
The pipe of Pitikwahanapiwiyin, or Poundmaker, leader of the Plains Cree
Pitikwahanapiwiyin, or Poundmaker (about 1842-86), was the great leader of the Plains Crees at the time of the North-West Rebellion in 1885. This was the only major military action which occurred during the colonization of the Canadian Plains. Discontent arose after the signing of Canadian Treaties by the federal government with the First Nations, particularly from 1883 onwards as a consequence of the reduction in the farming equipment and livestock promised to the Indians. Poundmaker could not stop his people sacking Battleford, Saskatchewan, after the Indian agent failed to release rations. As a result, Poundmaker was tried for treason and sentenced to three years in jail, even though in subsequent skirmishes he had prevented his followers from killing retreating soldiers.
The pipe was collected from Poundmaker by Corporal Elgin Morell, a twenty-two year old ambulance man in the Queen's Own Rifles, on his surrender at Battleford, 26 May 1885. Morell was a member of the column of Lieutenant-Colonel W.D. Otter who received the surrender.
Like many North American pipes, it is made from a stone bowl and painted wood stem. it would have been used for everyday rather than in ceremonies or rituals.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)