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California Schools: Stop Desecrating Sacred Red "Pipestone" - LIMITED SUPPLY

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In southern California, a five-college consortium continues to hold an annual “Peace Pipe Game” in which the combined college football teams vie for the “prize” which is taking possession of a highly coveted "Peace Pipe" – made of actual red stone from the sacred Canunpa (Dakota Language) Stone Quarries in southwestern Minnesota. According to the engraving on the "peace pipe’s" plaque/display board, this spectacle has been going on since at least 1959. It is unknown to the public exactly where the “pipe” came from other than that they have had it for at least 54 years.

An indigenous student alliance at one of the colleges wants the games to stop altogether on the grounds that this ‘faux-tradition’ is insulting and perpetuates cultural stereotypes. Members of the club are planning to meet with the athletic department to discuss this.

To the Indigenous Red Nations and Peoples of the northern Great Plains and beyond, the sacred Canunpa (misnomer “peace pipe”) is a crucial aspect of their spiritual understanding and guides their behavior of true thankfulness for Nature. There are Seven Sacred Ceremonies that are practiced with the Canunpa. Only qualified individuals complete time-consuming tasks in order to possess a Canunpa. Then, they have the responsibility to share the knowledge through conducting ceremonies with their community. The first stage is to fast on the hill for nights and days without food and water to understand the human place on Grand Mother Earth. Then, at a certain time of the year, they go make offering and retrieve a piece of the Sacred Red Stone (Dakota Language “Ihe Duta”) at the Quarry Site for which to carve and make their own Canunpa.

A Canunpa is put together, the stem with the bowl, only when a Canunpa Ceremony is taking place. It is wrong to put one together for display or for non-ceremonial purposes, such as hanging on the wall or playing games.

For many years the site was desecrated by the u.s. government and their citizens but they have learned and the desecration level is at a minimum today. Only Canunpa bowls can be made with the Red Stone – not ashtrays, bricks for buildings, trinkets or other sacreligious items.

The Ihanktunwan Oyate through their "Run for the Sacred Canunpa Stone" coordinated spiritual runs throughout South Dakota for many years during the 1980’s and 1990’s to bring about awareness to abuse and misuse of the most-sacred Red Stone and the sacreligious practices by u.s. government officials and their citizenry. Great strides have been made to bring about respect to this issue - but as is evident much more work is needed.

The "pipe" is just an object to the colleges, but because the Red Stone is in such limited supply at the quarry site in Minnesota, it should be returned. A meeting with ignorant college officials could be met with ignorance/racism unless the uneducated athletic department becomes informed about the seriousness of their ignorance.

The Canunpa could be repossessed by a qualified individual of the Ihanktunwan DaNakota “Yankton Sioux Tribe” (caretakers of the Canunpa Stone Quarries area) through their Historic Preservation Department representative or Sacred Run coordinator, Mr. Allen Hare, or their representative (i.e., Arvol Looking Horse, Caretaker of the Original White Buffalo Calf Canunpa), who understand the sacredness of the Canunpa and who would properly take care of it.

Article about game:

The Peace Pipe Game is a competition between co-conspiritors, the 'Claremont Colleges' against each other. The coherts consists of five small liberal arts colleges (Pomona College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College) in a one square mile radius, which all share the same central library and many student services. The colleges each have unique degrees and academic programs, but students are freely permitted to take classes at any school in the consortium, meaning that many of the athletes competing against each other in Pomona-Pitzer vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps games end up sharing the same classroom. The Peace Pipe game is normally broadcast over the internet by the Claremont Sports Connection, a 5-colleges club, with students from Claremont McKenna, Pomona and Harvey Mudd contributing. Pomona-Pitzer Football team concluded the 2012 season with a win at the annual Peace Pipe game final against consortium rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Merritt Field.

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