Take a detour off of Interstate 90 at Luverne, MN, head north for 25 miles on U.S. Hwy 75, and you'll find yourself at Pipestone National Monument, an area full of rich history and sacred meaning to many American Indians tribes. The quartzite mined from the quarries at Pipestone was and still is used for carving prayer pipes. It is believed that prayers travel upward with the smoke to the Great Spirit. The grounds are still a very important cultural and sacred site to different tribes. Visitors are expected to treat the area with care and respect as the quarries from where the reddish rock originates are still active.
|An active quarry, with pots of quartzite pieces lining the steps|
Today, collectors recognize the art in carving the pipes, as well as the importance of their ceremonial use.
(Photos courtesy of NPS)