Why you pay for Pipestone: How is the price decided upon?

We always get a lot of people complaining about the selling of pipestone. They say that the Native people are selling the blood of their ancestors. We respectfully beg to differ on that one, what they are actually selling is their own blood and sweat. You don't buy the actual stone just the person's time to quarry it for you. We decided to look into this further and do some figurative research. This page is the result of that research.

Below you will see a breakdown of one man's expenses as he quarries. He is a man that doesn't actually exist but we have taken an across the board representation from the quarriers that we know. All of them have these expenses, some more, some less, and we have tried to cover all expenses in an average way, rather than taking the highest figures we were given.

Some of the quarriers will take longer to get their stone, some a shorter time, again we have taken an average time period.

We hope that you will find these figures interesting. They were for us, and we were surprised at the results.

Expenses for two (2) months quarrying for one person living in Pipestone with own accommodation

Mortgage/Rent: 550

Food: 1,000

Insurance house: 65.

tax on house: 70

payment on car: 300

insurance on car: 75

electricity: 85

gas for fuel: 65

gas for car: 60

telephone bill: 160

water bill: 60

*doctor bill: 100

Tools/equipment replaced every year: 100

Total $2,690 ($1,345 per month) (2002 prices)

*The doctors bills are for the older quarriers who inevitably pull their back out or get another injury during quarrying.

The total stone removed each year which is usable is about 300 pounds.

When the amount of stone taken out is divided into the amount of expenses to get to the stone the price per pound should be just under $9.00 (8.96666) to compensate the quarrier for just his time.

As it stands now the Pipestone quarriers charge between $9 and $10 a pound for the stone.
For known Native people the stone is cheaper and often free. Leaving the quarrier running at a loss.

For someone coming to Pipestone from elsewhere the costs would be much higher as they would have motel/camping fees and their living costs here and at their home to contend with.

Yankton quarriers in the old days! They probably didn't have many costs and with so many of them working together it would have been quicker to get the stone out. They left with wagon loads of Catlinite to make pipes and trinkets from. (Pipestone County Star article)

These are the same people who have been telling us for years that it is wrong to sell the Pipe and make trinkets. The ones who started the Pipestone Issue back in the 80's.

1950's - Chuck's parents quarrying while some tourists watch.
Chuck in the quarry
1990's - Chuck in the quarry