Update 2007: This issue has returned. What was written below still applies today. Nothing has changed except we are all 10 years older and the next generation are
now attacking us and our traditions here in Pipestone.
When the Pipe is no more, when there are no quarriers left and the quarries have been closed, maybe these youngsters will realize their folly, because if those things happen the blame will sit completely on their shoulders. What a thing to have as an epithet, 'Killed the Pipe religion/culture because of ignorance'.
the Pipestone Quarries available for ALL Native Americans
written with respect by Gloria Hazell
the Little Feather Indian Center was established by Chuck
Derby in 1988 the issue of the Pipestone Quarries being returned
to just one tribe, (thereby limiting access to the Sacred
Quarries,) was in dire straits. No one had stepped forward
to protect the quarries to ensure that all tribal people had
access to them.
Little Feather's tribal fellowship, the Original Pipestone
Dakota Tiospaye (Community), and their softly spoken chairperson,
Chuck Derby, knew that access should remain status quo, they
and their relations had taken care of the quarry area for
generations and so they understood the importance of allowing
all tribal people to have access to the Sacred Quarries.
with the blessings of tribal elders, they spear-headed the
way for the concerns of many Native American people to be
voiced. During the 80's and 90's they worked hard trying to
get their message across to native and non-native people who
were actively fighting to get the quarries put into one tribe's
custody thereby stopping the use of the quarries by all tribes.
they were the subject of ridicule and wrath by their own tribal
people, but they remained strong in the belief that the quarries
should remain accessable to all tribal Nations.
They spoke up on the matter to various politicians including
Congressman Minge, and Senators Wellstone and Gephard, submitting
petitions for the cause at the National Congress of American
Indians (NCAI). In 1994, Chuck Derby testified
in Washington before a Congressional sub-committee, where
various Congressmen came in and out, and sat in on the testimony.
Throughout the day he and another tribal member,
Jim Cochran, visited with Congressmen, Senators and aides
in the hope that these people would back their 'Status
Quo' message. He also spoke at the Dakota Tribal
Chairmen meeting at Shakopee, MN later that year.
issue died down, the staff belonging to the opposition was
planted at the Monument signalling the end of the conflict.
The quarries were staying open for ALL Native American people.
In April 2001, Chuck again spoke at a meeting of Tribes in
Marty, SD, among those listening to him were Arvol Looking
Horse and various tribal chairmen as well as elders. The
problems of 20 years ago are again rising to the top because
of the 'false' stone that is being sold worldwide.
Many on the Reservations believe that all of this false stone
is coming from the Pipestone quarries. They believe that the
Pipestone Dakota quarriers are making a lot of money from
what they see is their ancestors blood. They don't know about
the other quarries that Native Americans have nothing to do
with, so they presume that it comes from Pipestone. On top
of this because the stone is so awful to carve they say that
someone has to be doing something wrong in Pipestone because
the stone is going bad. It is giving the real stone and the
people who quarry it a bad name, and that is not right. In
the 90's there was no proof that this stone was being sold
in the quantities it is. Now we have that proof
and now have to show Native people on the reservations that
it is this 'false' stone that is causing the problems that
the People are experiencing, not Catlinite.
campaign for the rights of all Native people to have free
use of the quarries has been and will always be carried on
via the Little Feather Center, and although the issue has
subsided yet again the Center continues providing education
on the subject. Now the quarries are no longer
under the same threat thanks only to Chuck Derby, the Original
Pipestone Dakota Tiospaye and the Little Feather Center.
Quarries have always been Sacred ground to the Native American
people, there are ancient stories such as the Thunder Bird
laying it's eggs in the quarries and the sacred pipe being
given to the people there. This land had been
chosen by the Great Spirit to be Sacred, and that has always
been recognised by those who have an earth based spirituality.
It has always been and it always will be Sacred, and only
the Great Spirit has the ability to bless this ancient area
and it's quarries.
matter what you read or hear, the quarries do not need blessing,
they are blessed by the highest being there is, Wakan Tanka.