June 28, 2009 – Pipestone National Monument

The second day of our 20th tour, brought us to Pipestone National Monument near, strangely enough, Pipestone, Minnesota.

Pipestone National Monument Sign

This monument interprets and protects the site of native American pipestone quarries.  Most famously it was the stone used to carve peace and ceremonial pipes. It was a sacred site and was off limits for war and available for all tribes.  They didn’t even camp on the ground when they came.

Winnewissa Falls

Here’s a rare shot of a waterfall in the tallgrass prairies. This is Winnewissa Falls along Pipestone Creek within the park, falling over a ledge of the Precambian (very old) Sioux Quartzite.

Go ahead, look through for guidance!

Oracle at Pipestone

See the oracle in the rock?

The pipestone layer is at the bottom of this small quarry – about 12 inches thick.  Native Americans still mine and craft the pipestone and by law are the only ones able to do so.

one year ago…”Des Moines Art Festival”