Guns On Sacred Pipestone National Monument Grounds
Gift of the White Buffalo Calf Woman - The Pipe
Lakota have a legend which says that a beautiful woman dressed
in white buckskins bought them a gift to be used in ceremony,
it was a pipe made out of red stone and highly decorated. She
stayed with them for a while and taught them the seven sacred
rites or ceremonies. In all of them the Pipe or Chanupa plays
an integral role. The Rites were the Wiwanyag Wachipi, the Inipi,
Hanblecheyapi, Hunkapi, Ishna Ta Awi Cha Lowan , Tapa Wanka Yap
and the Keeping / Releasing of the Spirit (Black Elk says soul).
Some say that the White Buffalo Calf Woman also told the People
where to find the sacred red stone to make the Pipes from, and
that of course was the Great Pipestone Quarries in southwestern
Minnesota. She also stated that 'The bowl of this Pipe is of red
stone; it is the earth. The stem of the Pipe is of wood, and that
represents all that grows upon the earth.' 'All of the things
of the universe are joined with you who smoke the pipe - all send
their voices to Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit. When you pray with
this Pipe, you pray for and with everything.'
the years the pipe has become known as the 'Peace Pipe', although
this is not strictly correct as it has been used for various ceremonial
uses, sometimes even for waging war. Some Native people also smoke
the pipe in a social way, without ceremony or structure.
years ago the tradition of having a pipe almost died when the
U.S. Government dictated that ceremonies such as the Sundance
were prohibited. In all ceremonies the pipe plays a large role,
so that with the illegality should have come the loss of the pipe.
However many ceremonies went underground on reservations, the
People themselves smoked their pipes in their homes, or hid them
away until it was safe to bring them out in the open. For most
of this time the quarries at Pipestone were still used by a few
Native People and so the art of quarrying was passed on through
the generations. These same people kept the pipe alive through
a period of darkness until in the 1970's the Sundance was once
more allowed to be performed. The Pipe was ready to be brought
out into the light again.
Dakota people who resided in Pipestone once more took up quarrying
the beautiful red stone for the People, the quarriers had not
lost the art as it had been handed down through the families.
The three families who had been keeping the Quarries open and
safe were the Derby's, The Taylor's and the Bryan's. It is thanks
to these people that the pipe was able to survive. Had they not
have perpetuated the quarrying process the stone would have been
lost. No stone, no Pipe. The Native American People owe a great
deal to these few people. Stone was still available to make their
pipes for ceremony.
Native American People here, including those same three families,
still quarry the stone, and make the Pipes in a very reverent
way. They know that one must not say anything negative around
the quarry area, one has to always think good thoughts, pray,
and leave offerings for the Spirits residing in the area. Many
of the Pipe-makers are fourth generation craftspeople, who have
learned the right way to make Pipes from their fathers and grandfathers.
They know the right way and would do nothing to be sacrilegious
towards either the stone, the quarry area, or the Pipes.
Traditionals believe that a Pipe stem should not be joined to
the bowl, unless you are about to smoke it. The Pipestone craftspeople
agree with that, but only after the Pipe has been consecrated
by smoking it. Prior to that it is like a child in it's mother's
womb, waiting to be born. Each piece of the Pipe is made for the
other at the same time. If they are parted before birth it is
like a child losing a limb. You, the person who ends up with the
Pipe, become the parent. You put the final touch to it, which
is your love and respect.
you have a Sacred Pipe please take care of it, it is the life
and soul of many Native American Cultures. Do not leave it on
display once you have used it. It is an altar at that point, and
each section should be wrapped separately, (preferably in red
cloth) and stored away from prying eyes and hands. Do not use
foul language near it or threaten anyone. When you smoke a Pipe
you should be sending prayers to Wakan Tanka via the smoke. So
please, please, please, do not even think of using any substance
in it which could cause disrespect to the Creator or yourself.
The tobacco used in a Pipe is not halucinary in any way. Drugs
are never used by Native Americans in their Pipes. Do not have
it anywhere in the vacinity of any weapons. Treat it as if it
were your mother,respect it in the same way.
at the Monument
can see from the words above that Pipestone Monument/Quarries
is a special place because if the charge the People have to keep
the Pipe pure and free from anything negative. Weapons of any
sort should not be allowed anywhere near the area.
unwritten law of the Indian people from generations back should
take precedence over today's ruling done by some people who have
no understanding about the quarries and their sacredness at all.
petition will be written shortly asking for the Pipestone National
Monument to be exempt from this ruling. Please keep an eye on
this issue and sign it when it is ready. You can join the Facebook
group to keep informed on updates. The URL is on the links page