|PIPE STEM OF TOPINABEE|
|Oldest relative pipe stem carried thru hereditary chieftain line in Burnett bundles is the pipe stem of Topinabee.
Elders and ritual leaders thru prayer speak of the pipe stem in great respect and tell of the birth or making of the United States. The Potawatomis intersected American history at very critical points. Ceremonial and personal pipes were used for prayers and meetings during the conflicts of war between the French and English fathers.
Chief Topinabee is son to hereditary sachem chief of all Potawatomis, Anaquiba, and brother to Chief Chebaas, biological grandfather of Chief Abram B. Burnett (Nan-Wesh-Mah). He was a great warrior and highly respected, intelligent chief involved in all battles and noted as a war chief to Tecumseh during the Tecumseh uprising. Topinabee was also documented as a signer of all important treaties.
Topinabee is biological uncle to Abraham Burnett, a family line Potawatomi chief who was involved with battles in Michigan. Abraham Burnett was son to Kaukema and William Burnett, a known trader.
Abram B. Burnett was baptised and married June 5, 1838 by a priest named Father Benjamin Petit to Dah-Moosh-Ke-Keaw (D'Moosh-Kee-Kee-Awh), a wealthy Potawatomi woman who was from Chief Aub-Ba-Naub-Ba’s and his son Pau-Koo-Shauck’s Potawatomi band. Three months later they would travel the Death March from Twin Lakes, Indiana, starting on September 4, 1838, and ending at Osawatomi, Kansas, on November 4, 1838. Dah-Moosh-Ke-Keaw (D'Moosh-Kee-Kee-Awh) was the first wife to Abram B. Burnett. She is captured in a portrait painted by well-known artist, George Winter. She was known to have died in the year of 1842 in Sugar Creek, Kansas.
The Fire Keepers
The Potawatomis, known as the “fire keepers,” were referred to by the old ones in slang as the “Cheek-blowers” to signify the act of blowing out the cheeks as in kindling a fire and is supposed to refer to the facility in which the nation possessed in kindling the ancient counsel fires of their fore fathers.
Left: The old pipe stem bears traditional Potawatomi marks of ancient Fire starting. Attached to a pipe bowl, the pipe stem was used in counsels of great importance.
It was traditional for Potawatomi pipe stems to be wrapped with feathers from ducks, eagles, woodpecker scalps, hawk, etc.
Feathers were green, white, and deep red (almost orange) in color. A bird would be cut underneath the neck area and half its body was used, up to the head and beak.
People may be surprised to learn that exotic feathers were used by Native Americans—especially those of birds not native to North America.
When the Potawatomis and other Great Lakes Indians saw these feathers, they were in awe of their beauty. Such birds were highly prized by Indian leaders as a show status and rank. They enjoyed decorating their bodies with feathers that others were not able to obtain.