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'.

Keeping the Pipestone Quarries available for ALL Native Americans
written with respect by Gloria Hazell

When 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.

The 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.

So 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.

Often 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

No matter what you read or hear, the quarries do not need blessing, they are blessed by the highest being there is, Wakan Tanka.

Mitakuye Oyasin

Thank you for the skill with which you present your products. There are no big marketing schemes, just the simple truth. That is a good thing for people on the internet to discover.
Beth, MN. November 14, 2001

Thank you, both, for your efforts upon this site. It is extremely well done and informative. Thank you, for extending your time and energies to this site. Walk with the Sun; Dance with the Moon; Sing with the Stars; But always...Run with the Wind. -
Snow Owl, Nevada. December 8, 2001

Thank you for your continued educational and informational efforts to protect the Pipestone quarries from those who would misuse, abuse and deplete this precious resource! -
Kathleen, Indiana, April 2002


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Gloria Hazell
1997 - 2007
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Graphics by Gloria Hazell 1997 - 2007
The background is from a quilled moccasin, graphic by Gloria Hazell
The medicine wheel logo was drawn by Solomon Derby and gifted to the Center for our use.
Thank you Solomon


317 4th Street North East, Pipestone Minnesota USA
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