1890 - September 1938
Crow (Santee Dakota from Niobrara, NB) and his family
were the first Native American people to come to Pipestone
to live, on the invitation of his sister, Julia who was
married to Joe Taylor (Indian Joe). Moses had married
Estella Pearsall, in Granite Falls, MN. They had known
each other since they met at the Pipestone Indian school
during the early 1900's. Her family had been a part of
the Upper Sioux during the Conflict in 1862, and had returned
there when it was safe to do so. In actual fact her relatives
were in Pipestone quarrying when the Conflict started.
He and Estella, had 9 living children, one of them, Ethel,
married Harvey Derby.
Moses was not known as a Pipemaker although he did make
a few which are highly regarded by collectors. He learned
quarrying and passed down to his children the art of quarrying
and craftworking. His children all helped with the quarrying,
including the girls. If it wasn't for Moses Crow and his
family the art of quarrying the Pipestone could have been
lost many years ago.
You may hear the story that Moses came to Pipestone to
settle because of the quarrying and Pipe making, but that
is not true, he came looking for steady work which he
found at the Indian school in Pipestone where he worked
as a 'Fireman' for 10 years, although he worked in the
Dairy Barn for a while too. He didn't learn quarrying
until later. Then he passed the knowledge down to his
immediate family, his daughter Aileen had said that all
of the children quarried.
was a World War One Veteran in the Medical Corps.
Pearsall with her family camping at Pipestone early
1900's, on the left is Great, Great, Grandma Amos,
who was with her family quarrying in 1862 when the
Conflict began, next is Grandma Estella (later Crow)
as teenager, with Great Grandmother Pearsall on
the right, all from Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Agency.
2 of the 5 children in the photo are still alive,
both are in their 90's and they still live in Granite
was born and raised on the Sisseton reservation, in South
Dakota, his father was 'Sitting Down Walking'. He moved
to Pipestone in 1938 with the CCC. He met and married
Ethel Crow and they had 7 children, their eldest son was
Chuck. Harvey's father and grandfather had also quarried
in Pipestone so he was familiar with the process, Moses
helped him to perfect the art.
served in the Army in World War Two, he received a number
of honors including the Purple Heart which he earned when
he saved a comrade's life and was injured during the rescue.
middle picture above drawn by Jackie Bird)
February 1941 - August 2010
in his quarry, and
(r) giving offerings during a visit to an ancient
English Sacred area.
is carrying on the traditions of his family, and also
teaching others the traditions which he adheres to in
his everyday life, that of sharing, caring, prayer and
respect. He continues quarrying year after year, and his
Pipe making skills are often used when people ask him
to make them a special design.
running the Little Feather Center in Pipestone he manages
to pass his cultural knowledge and experiences on to many
people he wouldn't meet otherwise. People from all walks
of life visit the Center, both Native and non-native,
and they come from many different countries. Sometimes
the Center looks and sounds like the United Nations! These
visitors are very interested in his culture, and he answers
their questions in the best way he knows how, always with
a smile on his face.
having this web site virtual visitors are many with thousands
walking thru the virtual doors every month, so the eductional
process is continuing further afield. Due to all of these
visitors who wanted to know all about the Center and the
work done here Chuck decided to start a Friends of the
Little Feather Center group in 2003. Membership is growing
nicely with people from countries as far away as South
Africa, New Zealand, and Australia joining so that they
can be closer to the Center even though they know they
will probably never get to it in real life.
Chuck passed away of cancer in 2010 after a short illness, he is sorely missed.
Derby (Little Feather)
1945 - February 1987
was the youngest son of Ethel and Harvey, he was an expert
craftsman, who made beautiful Pipes. He also taught the
younger generation of the Dakota Tiospaye in Pipestone
the way to carve Pipes. Chuck and Jeff used to quarry
together once it became too much for their parents.
started the Spirit of Peace Indian Center which he directed
in the old Depot back in the 1970's, he was also instrumental
in implementing the powwows that took place back then
which many people still speak about with enthusiasm.
died tragically in a house fire in 1987. This became a
great loss not only for the Derby family, but for the
Dakota Tiospaye as a whole because not only was he greatly
missed as a person he also had a lot of skills that could
have been taught to others.
Chuck obtained the Center in 1988 it was decided to call
it after Jeff, who's name was also Little Feather. As
you enter the Center please take a moment to look at the
memorial wall erected in honor
memorial to Jeff in the Center
closely at this photograph and you will see some
children, one sitting on the ledge, another standing
in the quarry. These are 2 of Chucks sisters, the
younger one on the ledge is now 50 years old. You
can also see Harvey and Ethel Derby quarrying.
picture shows how long this family have been going
into the quarries, the children played there as
children and then worked there when they grew up.
Chuck worked there for 31 years, Carol and Maddie
25 years each and Alice has recently retired after
27 years. They never moved from the area, they are
still here now.