Greater Ancestors

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Sawyer County 250 lb Axe

On the Lac du Flambeau reservation, located in the lake near the village, is a huge medicine rock upon which tobacco offerings are still made on occasions by pagan Chippewa Indians. There is now on exhibition in the State Historical museum a spirit rock of the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa band. This rock widely known to these Indians as “The Pipe of the
manitou,” is of granite and weighs about 250 pounds. In form it exactly
resembles a huge stone axe. It formerly stood on the projecting point of
a ridge at the head of Lake Chetac, overlooking a tract of still wild and un
broken country. It was the most highly regarded spirit rock of the Chi
ppewas and has been held in idolatrous regard by them from time immemori

The description of the “Pipe of the manitou” is nothing short of astounding. It is not only a spiritual and cultural artifact of great significance to the Chippewa Indians, but it is also an impressive physical object in its own right. Weighing in at 250 pounds and resembling a huge stone axe, it is a testament to the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the people before them who created it. It is hard to imagine how big a person would have to be to wield such a massive tool in today’s world, but it is clear that the Moundbuilders that came before the Chippewa were no strangers to hard work and heavy lifting. The “Pipe of the manitou” is a rare and valuable artifact that speaks to the rich history and culture of the Mound builder people, and it deserves to be found and memorialized for generations to come.

The Baraboo news. [volume], November 12, 1908, Image 5

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