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Walking on sacred ground

a journey on Turtle Island ( now called USA )in the summer of 2006.PROTECT SACRED SITES!

By Carina Gustafsson

(Note: These words written are attempting to share my own feelings and understandings, in the way I have perceived it and according to my very limited knowledge, at the time in my life where I now find myself. I am constantly learning, so please understand my limitations.)



On july 3, me and my friends; Elizabeth, Jenny and Marie, arrived at Minneapolis International airport. We were all a bit tired after the many hours in airplanes, so we decided to stay the first night in Minneapolis and rest up some, before heading southwest in our rental car.

The following day, we loaded up and headed south.

Our first stop was Pipestone in southwestern Minnesota.


Many times I had heard Indigenous friends speak about this Sacred Place.
I had also come to understand that this place, so very sacred to the many Indigenous Nations, nowadays had become a popular tourist attraction.

When we arrived at the parkinglot, in the early evening hours, we found that there were no other humans present at the site. A multitude of birds and rabbits met us, as we got out of the car. In the distance we could hear firecrackers, as americans celebrated their 4:th of july.

I felt good about being in this place on this date, although I thought about how Indigenous Peoples who came here, used to prepare themselves thoroughly in advance, before setting foot on these sacred grounds. I hoped and prayed that the preparations we had carried out in Sweden in June, would be acceptable.

As we started walking down the path, I felt a wonderful calm and we stopped to look at the many different plants along the way. Very soon I could hear the sound of water running, a sound that always fills me with joy. I had to stop and marvel at the beauty where the creek made its way through the lush green landscape, giving life to many plants and trees, along its path.
Water is Life...water is sacred.

We stopped at the first quarry, where Indigenous Peoples come to cut the sacred red stone, used to carve the bowl for their ceremonial sacred Pipes.
They are the only peoples allowed to come here and cut this red beautiful claystone.
My thoughts wandered and I felt that this rule might be the only reason this place still exists…and still contain a lot of the sacred red claystone, also called catlinite.

Drawn by the sound of water, again, I continued walking to the next place – a breathtakingly Beautiful open area, where a natural pond had formed, and a small waterfall continued into the flowing creek we previously had passed.
I sat down by the water and it was easy to imagen the People coming to this place to cut the stone. Maybe cutting it in the water, where I could see the bright red colour shining through the watersurface.

It was so peaceful, there. You have probably heard people refer to pipes among "American Indians" as "peace-pipes". I thought that if the bowls made from this site, had the ability of transferring the energy from where they came from; well, then they would indeed be able to invoke feelings of peace among those persons present.

Story about the red claystone at Pipestone MN:

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."

Is it possible that a person who is at peace with him/herself and the surroundings, have no need to make war or fight? This was my thoughts while sitting there by the water….probably such thoughts may seem childish and simplified to most who are used to our complicated society system, where these days it seems wars, greed and violation of human rights and our environment are so widespread, it seems these occurances rarely provoke any strong feelings anymore, among the general public...
At least this sacred place had precisely this effect on the Indigenous Peoples who came here…while they were at Pipestone on their mission to cut the sacred red stone, they did so side by side with their enemies. They all respected the sacredness and the teachings they had received about this place.

Quietness....all I heard was the sound of water running and the birds and crickets songs.
Quietly I prayed and gave thanks to all life in this place and to those who walked here, in the past aswell as to all Indigenous Peoples of today.

Continuing walking on the path, after a while I heard a stronger sound of larger masses of running water.
Under the shade of large trees, the big red wall of the sacred stone, appeared before my eyes, and a beautiful strong waterfall. The sight took my breath away...

While the sun was sinking in the western sky, we slowly wandered back to the car.
Each filled with our own thoughts and feelings, still quietly praying and giving thanks for having this opportunity to walk upon these sacred grounds.

May this place always be protected and may the sacred red stone always be in care of the Indigenous Peoples of this continent and the Great Spirit.


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