Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pipestone National Monument: A Writer's Road Trip Series

     The Writer's Road Trip Series is brought to you by the Blogging from A-to-Z April Challenge. This month I'm blogging daily about ideal places for an afternoon, weekend or longer stay to focus on your writing. Need a retreat to finish that manuscript? Or maybe a virtual trip to inspire a scene? Take a minute, read, imagine. And thanks for stopping by!
     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
    The Sioux holy man, Black Elk, was also a gifted storyteller, and committed many of his ancestors' stories to print. In BLACK ELK SPEAKS, first published in 1932, he recounts the importance of the pipes. Author John Neihardt said that meeting and interviewing Black Elk for the book was the greatest experience of his life. I bought the book on our trip to this site, and loved it.m
     Today, collectors recognize the art in carving the pipes, as well as the importance of their ceremonial use.

(Photos courtesy of NPS)


  1. What an amazing place. It looks like one of those places you'd go when you wanted to just sit and contemplate a while.

  2. WOW! I am impressed by all of these A to Z places. Thanks for this. :) Have a happy Easter.

  3. I loved your take on Indian culture and the connection between Black Elk and this spot. I write westerns so I love this kind of insight. Hope to read more. Good luck with the A-Z!

  4. So much Native American wisdom and tradition was lost. I am thrilled to read about this bit that still exists. I wish that the Europeans had tried harder to respect the Native Americans and their culture. This world would be a very different place if they had.

  5. I love your Road Trip theme. I've visited a few of the sites & hope to visit many more. Great job!


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