Catlinite (also called pipestone or pipeclay) is a type of
argillite(metamorphosed mudstone), usually brownish-red in color, which occurs in a matrix of Sioux quartzite. Because it is fine-grained and easily-worked, it is prized by Native Americans for use in making sacred pipes commonly referred to as peace pipes, or calumets (Fr: "hollow reed"). Pipestone quarries are located and preserved in Pipestone National Monumentoutside of Pipestone, Minnesota, in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, and at the Pipestone Riverin Manitoba, Canada.
The Canadian quarry is no longer used, although there are quarries in Canada where prized black stone is gleaned. The
Ojibwause the black stone for their sacred pipes. The red catlinite from the Pipestone quarries is the second softest rock in the world, and it lays under Sioux quartzite, the second hardest rock in the world. Only hand tools are used to reach the catlinite so it takes a long time to get to it. Only enrolled Native Americans are allowed to quarry for the stone at the Pipestone National Monument, and so it is protected from over-mining due to this. The stone in the photo shown to the right is not the correct color or consistency for making pipes, it is too brittle. Catlinite is buttery smooth, and soft with no quartzite in it so it is easy to carve and cut with a regular hacksaw or even a knife, it comes out of the ground a pinkish color often with a cream layer protecting it from the hard quartzite. [ [http://littlefeathercenter.50megs.com/Catlinite.html/ Little Feather Interpretive Center, Pipestone.] ]
The term "Catlinite" came into use after the American painter
George Catlinvisited the quarries in Minnesota in 1835; but it was Philander Prescottwho first wrote about the rock in 1832, noting that evidence indicated that American Indians had been using the quarries since at least as far back as 1637.
*Sigstad, John S. (1970) "A Field Test for Catlinite". "American Antiquity" 35:3. pp. 377-382.
* [http://www.uwlax.edu/mvac/Research/technologies.htm Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse] : Describes the process of making pipes from Catlinite
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Look at other dictionaries:
Catlinite — Cat lin*ite, n. [From George Catlin, an American traveler.] A red clay from the Upper Missouri region, used by the Indians for their pipes. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
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catlinite — [ katlɪnʌɪt] noun a red clay of the Upper Missouri region, the sacred pipestone of the American Indians. Origin C19: from the name of the American artist George Catlin + ite1 … English new terms dictionary
catlinite — cat·lin·ite … English syllables
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