Native American elder exhibits at Beloit

BELOIT, Wis.—The Logan Museum of Anthropology announces the opening of its newest exhibit, which explores the cultural context of tobacco and pipe smoking among Native Americans. Sealed with Smoke: Pipes and Cultural Interaction in Eastern North America will run through Sunday, April 18, 2004, in the Logan Museum, on the south end of the Beloit College campus. The use of Native American pipes played a crucial role in developing relations among Native Americans and Euro-Americans in their initial contacts with each other; tobacco-pipe smoking is now recognized as the most powerful and consistent vehicle for establishing common ground and fostering effective relations. The ritual helped overcome cultural boundaries by creating a “sacred kinship” between otherwise unrelated individuals and groups. Pipes also served to facilitate trade, ease diplomacy, and establish a social relationship. The assumed closed boundary between cultures and between “savagery” and “civilization” literally disappeared in a cloud of tobacco smoke. The Logan Museum will exhibit its extensive collection of historic and archaeological pipes to help educate the viewer on this culturally significant phenomenon. Among the topics to be explored are: the religious and cultural importance of tobacco, pipes and smoking for Native Americans; the use of pipes in trade, diplomatic and social relations; the ethnobotany of tobacco, from its domestication to its rapid spread around the world; the health effects of pre-contact ritual smoking; and the manufacturing of Native American “pipestone” pipes. Several related events are scheduled during the exhibit, including a series of lectures and video screenings. Formal and informal guided tours of the exhibit are also available for individuals and groups per request. The Logan Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Paul Thistle at (608) 363-2616 or visit the Logan Museum Web site at

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