"Pipestone National Monument" Pipestone National Monument by Stephen-KarenConn
Pipestone National Monument Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 17 photos
On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipestone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry,
Stood erect and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.
from "The Song of Hiawatha"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
According to American Indian Legend, the first person to discover the area that is today Pipestone National Monument was an Indian woman who was lead by a white buffalo to this very special place. Here she found a very unique red soft stone, actually clay, slightly harder than soapstone, which can be cut with a steel knife. The Indians have used this stone for 300 years in making useful and ornamental objects - especially peace pipes.
This is sacred ground to the Indians. Although a woman is said to be the first to find it, women and children were not allowed to approach the quarries. Even the men must first leave proper offerings to appease the spirits that protect this valley. Indians came from hundreds of miles to collect the prized red pipestone, and it was traded widely among many tribes. American Indians recognized this area as a peace shrine, so all laid down their arms and forgot ancient hostilities while visiting here.
Since 1937, Pipestone National Monument has perserved this unique American treasure. Active quarying continues, but can be done only by American Indians, using handtools, and then only by permit.
Pipestone National Monument is on the northern edge of the small town of Pipestone, in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, about 50 miles southeast of Souix Falls, South Dakota. It is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
These authentic peace pipes are only one of many exhibits you will find at the Visitor's Center. In the same building a... more travel advice
On the high plains of southwestern Minnesota some farmers are harvesting the wind, to generate electrical power. As we... more travel advice
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