Ceremony Celebrates New Addition to Pipestone Monument (MN)

Pipestone National Monument, MN, 6/21/2007: On Thursday, June 21, a celebration and pipe ceremony will be held at 11 AM to honor the coming summer, express thanks for all the earth has given its people and renew the bond between all Native peoples.

The National Park Service, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Joe Day, TPL’s Tribal & Native Lands Program Advisor invite all Nations to participate by presenting their own pipe ceremony at 12 pm CDT.

In March, 2007, TPL, a national conservation organization donated 15.3 acres of land which was added to the Pipestone National Monument in southwestern Minnesota.

“We are deeply appreciative of this gift from TPL,” said Jim LaRock, Superintendent of Pipestone National Monument. The addition of this land will add an important component to the park by preserving associated cultural resources and restoring another small piece of the original tall grass prairie that covered the Coteau de Prairie in the early to mid 1800’s. We hope to provide the opportunity to unite science, education and learning as a by-product of restoring the prairie and by involving our partners.

“TPL is proud to work with the Park Service, and contribute to strengthening the integrity of this important cultural, historic and ecological site,” added Stacy McMahon, TPL Regional Director of Projects.

In March 2007, TPL acquired the land from the Pipestone school district, which had been seeking to put it on the market. TPL has, in turn donated the 15.3 acres to the National Park Service.

“I believe the PAS School Board felt the 15.3 acres sold to the Trust for Public Land and later donated to the National Monument was a natural extension of the National Monument,” commented PAS Superintendent Jim Lentz.

“This is a great event in the history of Pipestone National Monument,” said Chuck Draper, chair of the Friends of Pipestone National Monument. “The community’s identity is bound to the Monument. To see its boundaries enlarged and its resources enhanced is important to all of us.”

The monument was created in 1937 to protect the unique site of quarries, which Native peoples have used for thousands of years as the source of a unique rock. The rock was turned into pipes used for ceremonial and personal purposes, and continues to be quarried today.

The National Monument is held sacred by many American Indians and due to the long history of the property, relatively little of it has seen cultivation or development. The Monument site contains a number of important Native American spiritual and archeological sites.

“For centuries, Native Americans have come to this sacred place to take the pipestone rock from here and turn it into pipes which we have used in our ceremonies,” said Chuck Sams, Director of TPL’s Tribal & Native Lands program. “This gift of land is a significant addition to a place which is important to many Native Americans.”

This new, additional acreage may also contain significant archeological resources, given its close proximity to the known site of a prehistoric workshop. It will also aid in the preservation of a globally rare and significant plant community including the Northern Mesic Tallgrass Prairie/Sioux Quartzite Prairie.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places.

In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres valued at more than $60 million including the recent acquisition and protection of the Chainsaw Sisters Mudro Lake portage access adjacent to the BWCAW, an addition to the future Neenah Creek Regional Park in St. Cloud, the creation of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary east of downtown St. Paul and the most prominent portion of historic Pilot Knob in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.