Early-style platform pipe - ROM2005_5292_1


Early-style platform pipe

Maker: Belonged to Chief Poundmaker, Plains Cree
Medium:Polished stone
Geography: Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada
Date: before 1885
3.5 × 2 cm
Object number: 936.72.1
Credit Line: Gift of Prof. G.H. Needler
On view
Gallery Location:Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture

According to the donor, Dr. G. H. Needler, Poundmaker presented the pipe to Dr. Robert Reddick when confined in the N.W.M.P barracks in Battleford after surrendering to Gen. Middleton in 1885. At the time, Dr. Robert Reddick was a surgeon in the Northwest Field Force. He gave the pipe to his successor, Dr. G. D. Porter, who later became Director of the Health Services at the University of Toronto. In 1935, at the fiftieth anniversary of the Riel Resistance, Dr. Porter presented the pipe to Dr. Needler who had taken part in the fighting as a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles with Col. Otter’s Battleford Column. Dr. Needler later became a professor at the University of Toronto. The pipe was received by the ROM on April 27, 1936, by T. F. McIlwraith, the Keeper of the Ethnological Collections.

Poundmaker’s pipe is made of a slightly metamorphosed black igneous stone and the striations observed on its surface indicate that it was shaped with stone tools. It is a so-called "platform pipe" and is self-contained, unlike more contemporary pipes that are a coupling of separate bowl and stem. Platform pipes in general predate the presence of Europeans in North America and the particular style of Poundmaker’s pipe is associated with the period 500 to 1000 AD. It is of a type found archaeologically in greatest concentration in Ontario and New York State. Thus, it must have travelled over great distances and large expanses of time before it came into Poundmaker’s hands in northern Saskatchewan in 1885. A photograph of Poundmaker taken in that year, presumably after he gave his pipe to Dr. Reddick but while still imprisoned, show him holding what appears to be a European-made pipe used for leisure smoking. Presumably, it replaced his stone pipe. The photograph is held at Library and Archives Canada (Acc.# 1966-094 NPC, C-001875). Members of the community visited the pipe in storage in 1996 and placed an offering of white cloth with it. The pipe has been on display in the permanent gallery since 2004, resting on the folded cloth offering.

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