Catlinite (also Pipestone) is a type of red, metamorphosed mudstone (argillite) rock occurring in a matrix of Sioux quartzite. The stone is quarried by Native Americans for use as sacred pipes called calumets (Fr: “hollow reed”). The quarries are found and preserved in the Pipestone National Monument outside of Pipestone, Minnesota, in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, and at the Pipestone River in Manitoba, Canada.
The term, Catlinite was used to refer to pipestone after the painter George Catlin popularized his 1835 visit to the quarries, but it was Philander Prescott who first wrote about the rock in 1832, noting that evidence indicated that the American Indians had been using the pipestone quarry since at least 1637.
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