Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota is a sacred site for the Plains Indian tribes who have quarried a red pipestone here for 3,000 years. The stone is carved into elaborate pipes for smoking ceremonies. Native American rights to the quarries were contested from the Treaty of 1858 to the creation of the national monument in 1937. Today, visitors can view live demonstrations of pipemaking along with the site’s natural and archaeological resources.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Archaeological evidence and oral tradition tell us that Pipestone was used by many different tribes in prehistory, and that enemies quarried side by side peacefully.
Park website: www.nps.gov/pipe/
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the Badlands of North Dakota, memorializes the president best known for promoting the conservation of America’s natural and archaeological resources, an ethos instilled in him in large part due to his experiences in the Badlands. In 1883 during his first visit to the Dakota Territory, twenty-four year old Theodore Roosevelt invested in cattle and bought a ranch. Park visitors can tour the site of Roosevelt’s cattle ranch, appreciate stunning landscapes and local wildlife (including bison), and enjoy impressive views of the night sky.
Archaeological Fun Fact: As with many abandoned pioneer homesteads, the buildings at Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch were quickly disassembled by neighbors to be reused in new construction projects and by 1901, a neighbor reported that only a couple of half-rotten foundations remained on the site. In 1957 and 1959 NPS excavations re-discovered the locations of Roosevelt’s house and various outbuildings with help from historical descriptions as well as photos taken by Roosevelt himself.
Park website: www.nps.gov/thro/