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


Arizona Sweat Deaths

This site redesigned
September 2009
updated 2011
Gloria Hazell
1997 - 2013
All Rights Reserved.


Biography of Chuck Derby, (Running Elk)
February 1941 - August 2010

Chuck Derby


Chuck Derby was born in Pipestone Indian School hospital, Minnesota to Ethel (nee Crow) and Harvey in February, 1941 and he continued to live there for the rest of his life. According to tradition, as the family's first born son he inherited the name Chaske. Which has since been mutated to Chuck or Charlie.

After attending Pipestone High school, and Haskell Institute (a post-graduate vocational school for native Americans,) in Lawrence, Kansas, Mr Derby worked in general construction and natural gas pipeline construction before he began working for the Pipestone National Monument as a general laborer in 1963. He was promoted to Maintenance Supervisor in 1967 and continued in that position until he retired in 1994. Many people thought of him as the Caretaker of the Quarries while he worked there.

In his personal life Chuck has been working in the quarries since his father first took him there as a small child. He often says that he thought he was playing when he filled his little buckets up with dirt, when he was about five, and it wasn’t until the buckets got bigger and heavier that he realized that this was not playing, but something much harder. He has also been pipemaking for 40 years, another skill passed down to him from his father. By continuing the quarrying and pipemaking he followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and ancestors, who quarried prior to the 1860's.

Mr Derby was a lifelong adherent to traditional values, and had served on many Native American committees and Boards, dealing with various things regarding historical and traditional Native American issues. Not least of these issues involved the quarries, pipemaking and ceremonials. He had been to Washington DC to testify to Congress on behalf of the Native Americans who use the Pipe. In recent years Chuck served as the elected spokesperson for the Original Pipestone Dakota Tiospaye.

In the 1970's Chuck appeared in the film, 'Hiawatha Pioneer Trail' demonstrating both quarrying and pipemaking. His most recent movie experiences included 'Minnesota River and Fields' in August 2009. Among other venues Chuck participated in was the Festival of Nations in Minnepolis, where many countries exhibited their own unique crafts. He has exhibited in the Minnesota Historical Society at the State Capitol in St Paul and also at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, in the 70's where over 60,000 people visited his exhibit. In 1972 he again demonstrated his work at the Second World Conference on National Parks, where over 90 countries were represented, and at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha.

At the request of Native American elders, Chuck was given the honor of carving an exact replica of the original pipe of the respected Oglala Lakota, Crazy Horse, which was to be used for special purposes at the Crazy Horse Monument in the Black Hills, where he had participated in a Pipe ceremony with Arvol Looking Horse, Charles and Godfrey Chips, Ruth Ziolkowski, (the wife of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski,) and others.
Sadly he didn't live long enough to make that Pipe.

Through the years of working with pipestone and making ceremonial pipes Chuck associated with many Native American elders, spiritual leaders and medicine men, in 1998 he was adopted by the now late, Lakota Spiritual leader Joseph Flying Bye as his son, which was a great honor. He was taught many things by Grandpa Joe as well as the spiritual leader, the late Amos Owens. By knowing these people and others he learned a lot of cultural and spiritual lessons. Due to these ancient teachings he was able to incorporate traditions into his everyday life, just as his ancestors did many years ago.

In recent years Chuck concentrated on the educational aspects of quarrying, pipe making and cultural awareness and had been presenting the unique cultural educational program Beads & Buckskins in both the States and Europe with his wife, life and working partner, Gloria since 1994*. Both followed the traditional ways. Chuck had in the past few years filmed three DVD's one on Pipemaking, one on the history of the Pipestone area and the Pipe, and another that is being edited at the moment of quarrying. All of these DVD's were available at the Center.

In this new millennium Chuck continued to be a humble, passive, proletarian quietly working for Native American rights both in Pipestone and elsewhere. Sadly in April 2010 Chuck was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in August 2010 in his beloved Pipestone, surrounded by his wife, daughter, sisters, family and friends. He is sadly missed by us all.

* Neither Chuck or Gloria pretend to be a Medicine Person or spiritual leader, they were just presenters of these cultural ways of life which could die if they are not perpetuated. This program was started NOT to show you how to pray or how to perform ceremonies, it was NOT a so-called 'Shamans' course either. Chuck and Gloria did NOT advocate that the participants copy these ways. Although they do both believe that everyone has to be true to their own calling and spiritual path. They ask that everyone is respectful to one anothers path and belief system.



Chuck with his daughter Diana, son-in-law Richard and Kevin Costner, September 2009

Chuck and Gloria September 2008

Chuck and Wyatt at the Sundance quarry, September 2009


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


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This site designed by

 Dragonfly Dezignz

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