There has been a rumor going around for years that the Native people in Pipestone are making a lot of money from selling the sacred stone. The Original Dakota Community in Pipestone were always puzzled by that as none of them have ever made money through the stone. They are barely reaching the bread-line. They were called names by other tribal people, and were told that they were desecrating the sacred quarries, they wondered where these stories were coming from, and then realized that it wasn't them and the sacred quarries that these stories were being told about but the Jasper quarry and the man who owned it.

Of course those who don't know the area think that all quarries are in Pipestone, and that they are one and the same. There is a lot of confusion in Indian country about the quarries. Many Native Americans really believe that the quarries are being ruined; desecrated by the quarriers. That is because they have never been to Pipestone to see with their own eyes what is there. Had they gone to see they would have found small quarries, tucked away in the underbrush, these quarries are mostly just big enough for a man to fit into and swing a hammer. Some have room for a couple of people, and a few are large enough for a number of people to work at the same time. In the old days one of the quarries, the Co-operative quarry was worked by a lot of people, but now that quarry is no longer used. Below is a map of the Monument area including the quarries.

map of quarries

Everything done in the quarries is done with respect, the earth is moved away quietly, the quartzite is broken by using wedges and hammers, the only sound heard is the tap, tap, tap, of the hammer hitting the wedge. The broken quartz is then removed and gradually layer by layer the quartzite is thrown onto a pile and the pipestone layer is exposed. This can take weeks to complete. Every part of this work is done quietly, disturbing nothing but the area being worked on. Mother Earth is left to stay in peace. This process has been going on for centuries, and each time the quarry is used it moves only a few feet forward. The discarded rocks are placed on the same pile that people have been using for hundreds of years. A low pile that covers the length of the quarries.

In the Jasper quarries a tractor with a back hoe is used to tear open the Mother Earth, and break the quartzite up, then a uni-loader removes the broken stone and then brings up the red stone. It probably takes about a day to do all that. The Earth is traumatized and the stone is not treated with reverence. This red stone is then transported all over the country to rock shops and pow wows. It is being advertised on the Internet now as well.

Now if this man wishes to sell the red stone, then that is his right as he owns it, but he should not be passing it off as the sacred stone. People who believe that it comes from the Pipestone quarries will try to make a Pipe for a ceremony, only to find that the stone is fractured because of the harsh treatment it has received. They then call up the Little Feather Center to complain about it. We get hundreds of calls a year from people dissatisfied with the stone they have. When we ask where they got it we are always told, 'From a rock shop' near to where they live. We know immediately they say they are dissatisfied that it is not true Pipestone (Catlinite). Catlinite doesn't disappoint.

We feel bad for the thousands of people worldwide who are buying this stone under the impression that:

1. it is Catlinite,

2. that it has been removed with respect, and

3. that it has sacred properties.

To do Ceremony with such stone would be so detrimental to the person using the item. The true stone has been given the quarrier's prayers, love and respect, as it has been located and removed. The look alike has to be crying out in anguish from the treatment it has received in it's removal.

Please be careful when you get stone and if possible get stone from a member of the 'Pipestone Quarrier's Guild' which has been formed to combat this problem.

Catlinite goes

From this
To this

Catlinite does not disappoint!