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No Guns On Sacred Pipestone National Monument Grounds

Quarrying at the National Monument

These photos are of Chuck during a quarrying season. They are taken over a period of a few weeks.

Chuck walking down into his quarry - Day 1

Lowering tools down - Day 1
Clearing out debris and checking the work that needs doing this year to reach the Catlinite.
Now that the quarry has been cleaned out of the year's debris he now starts on the hard work - day 2
A hole is dug so that Chuck can access the Quartzite rock properly
He has now got the room to reach the Quartzite, he has to find where the cracks of the seams are and gradually move it out so that he can get to the Pipestone that lays beneath it.
This is one of the wedges that has been put into a crack. You can see how the stone is opening up to the right and the front. This is a back seam, hopefully it will crack all the way down to the next layer.
Hitting a wedge into the rock, not an easy thing to do. This is back-breaking work


Chuck has now decided to dig further along as he thinks he knows where the vein is going and he needs to be in a different place.
So now he works in two areas, and hey guess what he has removed a large boulder, from the first section and now has to break it into smaller pieces to move it out of the way. So now pounding starts to break it. It is then thrown onto the pile of rocks behind him.

It looks like he didn't break that rock up, you can see it discarded behind him. He then continues to make the hole deeper and wider

Until he has reached the area that he needs to be in


Once that is done he finds water in the bottom that he has to remove. We didn't have anything and so had to use a paper cup! there wasn't enough to pump out.

He then continues to remove layers to get to the edge of the Pipestone, first from one area....

And then from the other. Here he has just loosened a section and is removing it
This is what it looks like in the area he has been working. You can see the different layers of quartz`

What it looks like close up

Now he continued to take rock out and throw it onto the pile behind him. Youcan see the size of some of the discarded rock, it is not small, and is really heavy
Eventually he finds the Catlinite, again covered by water that has to be removed.
The following day he prepares to get the Catlinite out
And here it is! This shows just the top layer. As long as there are no fractures in it 5 or 6 Pipes will come from this piece. He still has to remove the bottom layer from this section and the layers he is standing on. This will take another few days to do.

And here it is, a wheelbarrow full of the wonderful sacred Pipestone Catlinite. Chuck then needs to get it to the Center and this will be enough to make the pipes people need plus the stone that has been ordered by various people. This is Chuck's supply for the year. This year 2007 it didn't take too long to reach,just a few weeks. Sometimes it takes a few months!

You can see how the work progressed, and how vulnerable the quarrier's are when they are working . They are down about 10 feet in pits that you can't really move around in. Can you imagine if someone had a gun and wanted to shoot them they wouldn't have a chance to get away. Most quarriers are alone when they work, so there is no chance of getting help.

A number of years ago one of the younger quarriers slipped on wet rock and fell into his quarry, he was alone, his quarry is much deeper than Chucks. He managed somehow to get himself out and hobbled to the Visitors Center, using one of his shovels as a crutch. He had broken his knee in 8 places.

There should be no guns allowed at the Pipestone National Monument

All photos copyright Gloria Hazell 2000 - 2008


All photos and text on this site is the copyright of Gloria Hazell. 1998 - date.