19th Century, 20th Century, Art, History, Native Americans

Pipestone National Monument Established

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“Pipestone Quarry on the Coteau des Prairies” George Catlin Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum. 1985.66.337

Aug 25, 1937
Congress establishes the state’s first national monument–Pipestone National Monument–in southwestern Minnesota.*

Monuments typically are structures or markers that are placed to guide society to remember that something of significance. In this case, the item of importance is literally a type of stone specimens of a quality rarely found in elsewhere. Below is a brief excerpt, that gives us a little scientific footing to understand it.

“The Early Proterozoic Sioux Quartzite of southwestern Minnesota accumulated as sedimentary sand layers deposited by streams that flowed across an erosional surface developed on older Archean rocks. These deposits were metamorphosed by heat and pressure to produce the metamorphic layers of quartzite seen today. The thin 2 to 6 inch layers of reddish-brown catlinite – a metamorphic claystone argillite – is normally found sandwiched between layers of quartzite which is often found under an overburden of 10-15 feet. The catlinite deposits of southwestern Minnesota are estimated to be between 1.6 billion and 1.8 billion years old.” **

Most of the western world found out about Pipestone through snippets in the journals and writings of explorers like Lewis and Clark ca. 1814, or Philander Prescott ca. 1832.***
In 1836, American artist George Catlin – after whom Catlinite is named – recorded the Sioux legend of the origin of the pipestone as follows:
“At an ancient time the Great Spirit, in the form of a large bird, stood upon the wall of rock and called all the tribes around him. Taking out a piece of the red stone, he formed it into a pipe and smoked it, the smoke rolling over the whole multitude. He then told his red children that this red stone was their flesh, that they were made from it, that they must all smoke to him through it, that they must use it for nothing but pipes: and as it belonged alike to all the tribes, the ground was sacred, and no weapons must be used or brought upon it.”****
The mystery of this place was also recorded in the imagery of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry; “On the mountains of the Prairie, On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry…”.*****
However, those with the most memory of the place are those to whom it is most sacred; the Ihanktonwan Nation. This group of Sioux, a.k.a. the Council of the Seven Fires, are the sworn protectors of this holy ground, and the ritual pipes made from these stones.For what reason is pipe-smoking considered sacred and necessary for most tribal and family meetings, or at times of decision?******

The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds. “The pipe is a link between the earth and the sky,” explains White Deer of Autumn. “Nothing is more sacred. The pipe is our prayers in physical form. Smoke becomes our words; it goes out, touches everything, and becomes a part of all there is. The fire in the pipe is the same fire in the sun, which is the source of life.” The reason why tobacco is used to connect the worlds is that the plant’s roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the heavens.*******

So we turn to You in prayer, dear Father! We give You thanks for creating connections between the physical and spiritual worlds through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ! We thank You that the natural and supernatural is flawlessly joined in Your practical teachings and in the most sacred rituals proscribed in Your Word! You did not create and then negate; Your Spirit is with us, and guides our prayers and actions beyond the limitations of the present tense! You allow us to experience and connect with the great “I AM”!

We give You thanks for the creation of the Pipestone National Monument, and for its’ keepers; the Ihanktonwan Nation! We thank You for the protections offered by the states of Minnesota and South Dakota, indirectly, to the prayers of the Sioux Nations! We thanks You that You remember the smoke of the Ochethi Sakowin, the Dakota, and the Lakota peoples through time.

We ask that You forgive the separations of these people groups, and the latter residents of Minnesota and South Dakota. Where we sinned against You in this place, will You forgive us? Where we have failed to recognize You, will You open our eyes and our hearts? Where we have cursed the grounds in war, or broken relationships, will You lift the curse?

Sweet Holy Spirit, will You blow Your smoke over Pipestone, and connect us with our Messiah? Spread Your fragrance through us Jesus! You have carved Your image into our lives, may we pass that image on!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestonegeo.htm
*** http://www.lewis-clark.org/article/3161
**** http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestone.htm
***** https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/pipestone/rock.htm
****** https://www.yanktonsiouxtribe.net
******* https://www.native-americans-online.com/native-american-pipe-ceremony.html

Want more? Please read a primary source letter by Catlin regarding Pipestone. Catlin, George. “Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians”. Published London.1844. http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestonevisit.htm

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20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

Tornado Kills 36 in Tyler

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Aug 21, 1918
A storm took thirty-six lives and destroyed the Tyler business district.*

The following copy is directly from a local newspaper the day after the storm.
“TORNADO KILLS 35, INJURIES OVER 100
Tyler, Minnesota, Torn to Pieces; Property Loss a Million
Brave Nurse Loses Her Life Attempting to Save Patient
TYLER, Minn., Aug. 22.—-Between thirty and thirty-five persons were killed and more than 100 were injured by the tornado which struck Tyler about 10 o’clock last night and tore the town to pieces in a twinkling. Twenty-seven bodies have been identified.
The tornado tore through the heart of the town, sparing only one building, a motion picture theatre, in which 200 persons were sheltered. The greatest loss of life was in a restaurant. Eighteen persons’ were in the place when the brick walls collapsed. Sixteen were killed, and the other two were seriously injured.
Persons engaged in rescue work said that 125 injured victims was a conservative estimate. In addition to the business places, forty residences, the hospital, electric light plant and other buildings were destroyed. The storm raged until 11:25 P.M. and dozens of victims were pinned under debris for two or three hours, before rescued.
The tornado roared into the city from the east. Roofs were ripped from stores and houses, crashing glass whistled through the streets and falling walls re-echoed to thunder crashes before many residents realized what happened.
Destruction of the electric plant with the first shock of the storm plunged the city into darkness. It was not until early this morning that citizens were able to notify adjoining towns of the devastation.
Three of five patients in the Tyler hospital were killed when the building was destroyed. Miss Rose Nelson, head nurse, made an effort to save one of the patients and lost her life. There were eight persons in the building; only two escaped injury.
Home guardsmen from Pipestone arrived here this morning and assisted in the rescue work. Many of the injured were removed to hospitals in neighboring cities. Physicians said they feared a number of the victims would not survive.
Reports that the tornado destroyed the Northwestern Station and a passenger train later proved untrue. The storm, however, wrecked the roundhouse nearby.
It was estimated the property loss would be one million dollars at least.
Tyler is a town of 1100 inhabitants in the southwestern part of Minnesota.
Governor Sends Aid”**

This story reminds me of the era of the prophet Nahum, and the kindness and sternness of G-d in the captivity of the Northern Kingdom of Israel ca. (722-721BC) Those that oppose His people in separation and tyranny will ultimately fall. He alone is Sovereign.

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging G-d; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;the Lord will not leave the guilt unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:2-3

Lord, we may fail to see Your purposes in such a devastating storm, but we acknowledge that You alone are Sovereign and Just. Will You forgive those of our State who judged You for this tornado? Will You forgive our present imbalanced judgements of You? We think of You as loving and miss Your justice, or we think of You as just and miss Your kindness. May we turn to You first in times of great natural disaster. May we trust that You are for us, and not against us. Amen.

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/3395/tyler,-mn-tornado,-aug-1918?page=0,0

 

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19th Century, education, Exploration, Geology, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Natural Science

Nicollet and Fremont visit Pipestone quarries 1838

Nicollet

Nicollet

Fremont

Fremont

While on expedition, Nicollet and John Fremont camp at the Pipestone quarries (in what is now Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone County) and engrave their initials near the Winnewissa Falls, leaving a lasting record of their presence there.*

God, since when did graffiti become history? It seems we are unaware of our actions today on future generations. Yet historians and achaeologists surely appreciate these moments of civil disobedience. What is literally scrawled on the walls of the present gives us a much more colorful picture of what happened in the past. Thanks for graffiti artists!

More specifically, thank You for moving Nicollet and Fremont to explore and physically record their attendance to Your pipestone quarry. All on earth belongs to You, but You move some of us to wonder, to travel, to seek out the wonders You have made. It is only my opinion, but I sense a smile on Your eternal face when our curiosity moves us outward, beyond, and into the the unknown!

Thanks for the blessings of pipestone and its amazing uses. Its physical properties made it a natural treasure for past and present minnesotans. Will You bless the quarries at Pipestone! May we continually discover incredible uses for this resource, and use it wisely. Will You free the quarries from the bitter judgments between all relevant parties over its use/misuse?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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