tiny medicine wheel
Petition for the above
2009 - Not yet done
tiny medicine wheel


Arizona Sweat Deaths

This site redesigned
September 2009
Gloria Hazell
1997 - 2009
All Rights Reserved.

This site designed by

 Dragonfly Dezignz

Graphics by Gloria Hazell 1997 - 2009
(not the feather bar)

Grave of Chuck's Great, Great Grandfather that we found in 2009 in Sisseton.
He was a scout in the 1860's.

Shame at the Three Maidens:
A History of the Sacred Boulders.

2009 Update: The Hiawatha Pageant is no longer performed. The last performance was in 2008. So the boulders known as the Three Maidens are no longer used as a backdrop. However some visitors, do still disrespect them by climbing on them, we have witnessed people taking photos of their friends standing on one of the boulders, kids clambering over them while their parents stand watching, teenagers just sitting on the top, and even a time when a man was just standing there on the top of one of them. There is of course a notice telling people not to climb on them but it seems some people can't read. I have to say here that the majority of people are respectful and just take photos or stand by the side of them, or just look at them from afar, but I guess in any place there will always be one or two who go against the rules because they probably think the notice doesn't apply to them, who knows.

Photo of the Three Maidens showing a sign that has been erected there


2007 update: This page has been updated due to the Park Service and the Hiawatha Pageant taking action to protect the Three Maidens area. We have to thank both organizations, we have left this page here to show that we have been continuing to caretake the area and have been getting results.
We thank all of you who wrote in to help.
This page was originally written and posted online in 2002.

Imagine what the first settlers to visit the Pipestone area saw; almost flat prairie, not many trees, tall grass, many beautiful wildflowers, butterflies lollygagging in the breeze, dragonflies darting here and there, rabbits hopping in front of them, basically a wonderful wilderness which they thought belonged to them. However there was something in the area that Native American people had been treking to for centuries; the ancient quarries where the stone for the sacred Pipe was found.

Three Maidens

I try to picture how the first non-native man to go to the quarry area felt as he saw the large granite boulders that had been deposited on the prairie on the edge of the quarries by the glaciers. Someone like George Catlin would probably have known that these giant boulders did not belong in that area. They were made from granite something that was usual north of Minnesota but not here in this area. I wonder how the man reacted when he saw the petroglyphs pecked into the quartzite ground around the boulders. So many of them done by an artist or spiritual leader eons before he set foot there. The dragonflies that flew around his head were depicted on these rocks, and so he had to have known that these insects were around when the artist pecked out his work. He had to have known also that this area where he was standing was very special, a site that had caused people many centuries before to spend the time to make these pictures. He would have counted at least 77 different petroglyphs, all laid out in a semblence of order that only the ancients would have understood.


When Charles Bennett, the founder of Pipestone, saw the petroglyphs he dug them up. The 77 different pictures ended up in 36 slabs of stone, which Mr Bennett then took around to places such as state fairs where he won prizes for them. There is a photograph of him with the slabs and he looks quite proud of himself.

After Chas. Bennett passed away he left the slabs to the Pipestone Historical Society, but when they were checked there was only 16 of them left, somewhere, somehow, along the line 20 of them had disappeared.

Those remaining are now on display at the Pipestone National Monument.

One of the ancient petroglyphs, this one is really interesting as it looks very alien

Since the time of Bennett, there has been a commercial quartzite mine close to the Three Maidens, this was operated by non-natives, and left a huge pit which was eventually filled with water and is today owned and used by the Hiawatha Pageant Club, who performed the Hiawatha Pageant on it every summer for over 50 years.


The Hiawatha Pageant use a staging area just in front of the Three Maidens, and a couple of years ago we noticed that a hole had been drilled in one of the boulders to allow their props to fit securely on to the rock. We felt that this desecrated the site once more. The photos below show how this looked at the time.

Three Maidens
Three Maidens
Three Maidens


UPDATE 2003: After the National Monument contacted the Hiawatha Club about this desecration, the practise was stopped. Seems the person who did it didn't realize he was doing wrong! So thank you to anyone who wrote to the National Monument, words do often work miracles. This is just another chapter in the long history of these sacred boulders. We hope it will never be repeated. Of course we also realize that once something has been damaged in this way it can never be put back to the pristine way it was originally, it will always carry the scar.

The Three Maidens area is still used for ceremony by Native and non-native people every year, offerings of one kind or another are left there on the rocks or under them, which is traditional. Most people are respectful of the area, however this year in particular while we have been monitoring the site, we have witnessed people climbing on the rocks, both children and adults, native and non-native.

Recently we did a ceremony at the Three Maidens with a few other people, one of them a man who travels all over the world doing ceremony for peace. Some of the people left offerings such as prayer ties (tobacco ties), the man left a wonderful stone that came from one of the countries he had visited. These items were left on the rocks or in crevices in the boulders. All of the people felt that as this was a sacred site that the offerings would be safe. We were wrong. A few days after the ceremony we revisited the Three Maidens to take some photographs of the hundreds of dragonflies that were filling the air in the area. We found to our shock that the offerings had all been moved. Some were thrown on the ground, some were missing, all had been touched and removed. This is abuse of our religion on a large scale.

Some of our offerings just thrown on the floor


We are going to request the government, who have ownership of the Three Maidens area, put up notices telling people that the area is highly sacred, and requesting that people do not climb on the rocks, and definitely do not touch or move anything they find there. If this doesn't work we will request that the area is fenced off and only ceremonialists be allowed access. (This is what happened in England, Stonehenge was being desecrated by visitors, and so it was fenced off and the Druids are only allowed access on Solstice each year, and sometimes special parties, usually non-English, non Druids, are allowed inside the stones. This causes much heartache for those who follow the old ways of the country, who would like access. However they realise that it saves the ancient stones from being demolished by ignorant people.)

UPDATE 2004: Again another positive result. The Monument have put up a notice as was requested to tell people not to touch items in the area, and not to climb on the boulders.




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