22nd November 2006
The Queen received a peace pipe today as she attended the funeral blessing of a native American Indian chieftain in a symbolic righting of a wrong.
Mahomet Weyonomon, who died in 1736, was finally given the traditional burial rites by his tribe, the Mohegans, that he was denied 270 years ago.
The Sachem, or tribal leader, passed away in the City of London, but foreigners were barred from being buried there so his body was interred in an unmarked grave in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral.
Today, the Queen watched as a memorial stone in honour of Mahomet was blessed with the burning of sweet grass and sage to bring good spirits.
Tribal spiritual leader Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, resplendent in his traditional regalia of turkey-feather and wolf-head headdress, goose-feather bustle and leggings made of deer skin complete with deer toe rattle, handed the Queen a small red stone peace pipe as a gift.
Prior to the presentation, "Two Dogs" and two other members of his tribe lit the pipe and turned it to each of the four compass points - North for medicine, South for ancestors, East for new beginning and West for "where all things end".
The gesture of giving the Queen the pipe and using it in the funeral rites of Mahomet is in keeping with Mohegan tradition.
One of the Sachem's ancestors presented a stone pipe to Queen Anne in the 18th century for her support of justice for the tribe.
Mr Bozsum said afterwards: "This is a big day for the Mohegan nation back in the U.S. This is something that we do for all our chiefs. Mahomet has his stone now and his place in history."
Asked if this marked the righting of a wrong, he added: "Absolutely. That's going to go on probably to the end of time, in every country on this planet."
He said the Queen was free to use the pipe as she wished.
"If the Queen smoked the pipe she would probably be performing a ceremony. It's her pipe, she can do that.
"As the smoke goes through your lungs, you look to the sky and say your prayers to your creators."
Looks like we still have Americans kissing our leader's feet.