The Pipestone Issue
written by Gloria Hazell

Page 2 of the Pipestone Story


In 1996 a new organization was started in Pipestone. It was started by an Ojibwa man who lives in Nevada, another who resides in South Dakota and a one of the Pipestone pipemakers. They wanted to start a church-like group, so that the people who were members could say legitimately that their religion advocated the selling of the Pipe. They saw it as a way to rid themselves of the Pipestone issue.

Although it was something as important as the spirituality that very many Native people follow, and although he and his followers were advised by a respected elder to invite Medicine Men, Elders and those who used the Pipe from all over the country, they didn't. Only about 20 people attended the meeting and the vote that has been reported as over-whelmingly for the Church came out as 14 for, 1 against, 1 abstention. (Addendum 3/2000: This vote is starting to look strange, as so far 4 people have told us that they either voted against it or abstained!)

Even though the spokesman for the Pipestone Dakota Community, Chuck Derby, attended the meeting the vote was taken after a break while he was out of the room. The sessions started again and the microphones were turned off so that he couldn't hear from his office at the other end of the building. No-one had the courtesy to come and notify him that they had resumed and that the vote was taking place so he didn't get to vote.

Chuck had publicly spoken out against the forming of a church for Pipemakers, and had been the one advising them to invite others from all over, so there was resentment involved. It has also been stated over the internet and other channels that there were pipemakers attending the meeting from all across the country. Well maybe that statement is somewhat acceptable as one man attending came from Oklahoma, the leader came from Nevada, and there were maybe one or two from just across the border, South Dakota. These people I guess represented pipemakers from all over the country!

On the same day that this meeting took place, the leader appointed himself, 'Spiritual Leader' of the group. He ran sweats that night, and took flesh offerings from the people at those sweats. The next morning he and his followers went to each quarry and blessed it, they also left the flesh offerings in those quarries. People who have worked the same quarry for many years felt very offended at this action as they already pray and leave their own offerings in their quarry. (He has continued to do this every August since then, many of the quarriers have told the park service that they do not want their quarry blessed, however that year ALL quarries were blessed, causing exasperation by the quarriers who didn't want this to happen and who feel offended by it.)

I omitted to say that during this process there was a Sundance in progress next to the quarry area. These people walked around the area blessing the quarries, even though there was a spiritual Intercessor in attendance at the Sundance. (A few years later AIM security stopped them from going into the Sundance area to perform this blessing so they wouldn't disturb the sundancers who were in their fourth day of dancing. Another year their followers acted very disrespectfully to the sacred area, by wading in the stream and walking over the prairie, and when told by a ranger to move back on the trail they were rude to her and stayed where they were. N.B. - Only Native Americans who are participating in the Sundance are allowed to roam the prairie to pick sage but these people were not attending the Sundance.)

The Creator decided to get in on the act. That night there was a terrible thunderstorm, lightning was hitting the quarry areas and the rain pelted down washing the area clean of anything which had been put there. We were told by people attending the Sundance that it was terrifying. Their tents were washed out and the lightning came close to many campsites next to the quarries. They said that although it was night each flash made it seem like daytime. Often here at Sundance time there is a thunderstorm, it usually clears the area for the Ceremony to take place, and is exhilarating not scary. It usually gives the people a sign that all is well and Spirit is watching over them. This storm frightened the People to death, they thought it was their time to go and meet their Creator. They were not exhilarated, and they did not feel protected. That is not right at a Sundance.

You see the Pipestone Quarries have ALWAYS been looked at by the People as being a tremendously powerful and Wakan area. They walked gently while on the Land there, in case they upset the Thunderbird's eggs, which are believed to be there. All hell would break out if they disturbed those eggs, so no-one did, until the summer of 1996. Someone decided that he was more powerful than the Creator of all things and he contrived to imitate the act that The Great Spirit had done when the red rock was formed, this mere man made the quarries Sacred. He then went on to have it on public record, in writing, that he had done this duplication.

Many centuries ago the Creator went into the hearts and souls of the children of this mighty country, and he gave them an instinct. He told them that this place was very special, He placed the knowledge that he had consecrated this site in the People's hearts and souls, Creator didn't need anything to be in writing. That is only man's way.

A number of years after this meeting this group erected a very large pipe outside their building, which many people, including 95% of the original Pipestone Dakota Community, feel is disrespectful to the Pipe (located HERE.  ) This started up the Pipestone Issue again, with people contacting the Center accusing the Pipestone Dakota Tiospaye and/or the Little Feather Center of putting up this monstrosity, or having something to do with it. At one point Native people were saying they would try to get the quarries closed and they would only allow a few people in to quarry for enough stone for one pipe. Chuck again went out on a limb to contact these people and have meetings with them and the issue died down. We expect it to flare up again from time to time.

2005: Please see the latest flare up HERE

We reiterate here again that this very big pipe, which incidentally is made from a sewer pipe, has nothing to do with us or 99% of the Original Pipestone Dakota Tiospaye.

If you wish to complain please do so to the people concerned with it.


2007: Here we go again Catch up on todays happening HERE on page 3



Site Map

safesurf logo
child safe
Labelled with ICRA


This site designed by

 Dragonfly Dezignz

Graphics by Gloria Hazell 1997 - 2009