Native American Materials – Pipestone Catlinite

Native American Materials

Pipestone – Catlinite

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Pipestone, also known as catlinite, is a form of clay with a high iron content that makes it range from a pale pink to the unmistakable deep blood red (brick color). The light spots, called stars, are scattered through the stone and add to its uniqueness.

Native American Pipestone (Catlinite) Necklace by Oglala Lakota Alan Monroe

Native American Pipestone (Catlinite) Necklace by Oglala Lakota Alan Monroe

Pipestone is smooth, is soft enough to make a great carving stone and can be polished to a high sheen.

The Plains Indians consider it to be a sacred material and it is often used for ceremonial items such as pipes.

It is also called catlinite, named after the American artist George Catlin. He recorded the Sioux legend of pipestone:

“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.”

Pipestone Bird Fetish Necklace by Navajo Corrine Ramirez

Pipestone Bird Fetish Necklace by Navajo Corrine Ramirez

Pipestone only comes from a few place in the world. Most pipestone that Native American artists use comes from southwestern Minnesota. Pipestone quarries are located and preserved in Pipestone National Monument outside of Pipestone, Minnesota as well as in Pipestone County, Minnesota.

Native Americans have been quarrying pipestone in Minnesota since 1200 AD and today only enrolled Native Americans are allowed to quarry for the stone at Pipestone National Monument.

Zuni Pipestone Fetish Carving by Emery Boone

Zuni Pipestone Fetish Carving by Emery Boone

The city of Pipestone, Minnesota is on the National Register of Historic Places.

4 thoughts on “Native American Materials – Pipestone Catlinite

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for your question. The pipestone horse fetish is 3″ long from the tip of his nose to his tail; 2 1/2″ tall from his hooves to the tips of his
    ears; and 5/8″ wide.
    If you click on the photo, it will take you to the general fetish section
    and you can select the horse group and find Rainbow Rain there for more
    details.

  2. Pingback: Native American Pipes – Lakota Catlinite Pipes by Alan Monroe « Native American Jewelry Tips

  3. MY GRANDFATHER DIED WHEN I WAS ONLY FOUR. NOW I AM 59. WHILE WORKING FOR THE LITTLE TRAVERSE BAY BANDS OF ODAWA MMY MOTHER GAVE ME A LITTLE BAG WITH RED STONES IN IT. SHE SAID HER FATHER ..MY GRANFATHER THAT DIED WHEN I WAS FOUR HAD GIVEN IT TO HER AND TOLD HER TO GIVE IT TO ME (JAN) TWIN b OF A SET OF IDENTICAL TWINS. I WAS NOT RAISED NATIVE NOR WAS I AWARE THAT WE HAD ANY CONNECTION. MY MOM DIDNT KNOW WHY HE CHOSE ME OR WHAT THE RED STONES MEANT. I TOOK THEM TO MY BOSS AT THE TRIBE WHERE I WAS WORKING AND SHE SAID THEY WERE PIPE STONES. I STILL DONT KNOW WHY HE WOULD LEAVE THESE FOR ME ..WHAT COULD HE BE TRYING TO TELL ME? DOES HE WANT ME TO DO SOMETHING FOR HIM OR FOR NATIVE AMERICANS. I DID DO MY GENEOLOGY AND FOUND A NATIVE CONNECTION FROM QUEBEC CANADA WAY BACK IN THE 1600’S THE HURROUNE NATION..MY ANCESTORS NAME WAS MARIE OLIEVETTE SILVESTRE MANITOUBEOUCH. ANY IDEAS?
    JANET JOAN DELVECCHIO (MENARD’)

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