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Thursday, December 3, 2015

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Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers

Submitted by Bud Johnston, Bad River Band of Ojibwa Lake Superior Tribe
On the 24th of August 1996 a small pitiful group of pipemakers from across the United States met in Pipestone Minnesota to see if there was any interest in forming a spiritual group (spiritual church).
We believe in our hearts that we have organized to protect the Great Pipestone Quarries of Minnesota from exploitation or ownership by any one specific tribe or group of people who may try to inflict their own personal beliefs on others. The art form of pipe making has been practiced by tribal people for over a thousand years. These quarries have been a neutral sanctuary for at least a thousand years where all tribal people (even enemies) could come in peace and gather the special stone that is used for making pipes as well as many other articles that they desired for personal use and trade without paying homage to or asking permission of any tribe or other group of people.

They gave thanks to the Creator and mother earth through tobacco offerings for allowing them to gather the special red stone. Many pipe makers today carry on these special traditions of tobacco offerings and sage smudging just as their ancestors did for the past thousand years.
This small group of pipemakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of starting a spiritual organization to protect the quarries for all spiritual beliefs. On the night of that special day, the 24th of August, we went  into a sweat lodge to and asked for guidance in our endeavor and help from the spirits and the sacred six directions.

On Sunday the 25th of August we held blessing ceremonies for all the quarries. We recognized this land as a special place for the four colors of people and this red stone as a great gift the from the Creator. We  also gave a special gift back to mother earth and the Creator–our own flesh offerings because we are one with all creation. We finished the day with a great feast for the spirits and the people as a thank you for what has been given to us all. We are all grateful!

We have now bought a historical building for our office and meeting place and received state recognition as a spiritual organization. We are working on collecting data on the use of the Pipestone pipes by all the  tribes that use them and hope to create a cultural center in Pipestone to distribute this information.

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