In ancient times, Aboriginal
peoples travelled to trade fairs to meet with groups from far
away. Trade fairs enabled peoples to share resources and ideas,
and contributed to an exchange network that spanned North
America. Today, many First Peoples go to
pow-wows - social
gatherings that feature many of the same activities as ancient
Pipe smoking was part of an ancient ceremonial pattern in the Great Plains
of North America. A large calumet pipe
with a red stone bowl, and long flat stem from which feathers were
suspended, was a respected symbol of peace, honour and solemnity.
When strangers met, showing such a pipe indicated a request for
safe passage, an invitation to conciliatory talks, or the desire
to establish fictive kinship or an alliance.
Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
© Canadian Museum of Civilization