George Catlin and the Pipestone Quarry: paradise of the red gods
George Catlin, pioneer, author, ethnographer, entrepreneur, was foremost an artist of exceptional talents. He made five difficult journeys westward from 1830-1836 to paint the Native Americans and their way of life. His artistic work comprised the first pictorial record of western Native Peoples. In Catlin's view, a visit to the sacred Pipestone Quarry, located in southwestern Minnesota, would be a fitting finale to his documentation of Native American tribes of the West. Catlin felt it necessary to subject the quarry to his presence, to extract stone for study, and to preserve the quarry through his painting. Everywhere the artist had gone in his travels, from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Canadian border into Mexican territory he had witnessed the smoking of the long-stemmed Indian pipe that was an important ritual in every phase of diplomacy, peace, and war. The quarry was the central site that over the millennia held hundreds of tribes in communication with each other. In Catlin's time, the quarry was guarded by the Santee Sioux, protecting their economic interest in this valuable substance, pipestone, as well as the sanctity of the resource from which they believed the Great Spirit had fashioned man. In Catlin's final pilgrimage to round out his western travels his goal was to view this sacred site.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Journey to the Red Pipestone Quarry -- Paradise of the red gods -- Politics of discovery -- Conclusion
MA (Master of Arts)
Open Access (fully available)
Copyright retained by author