The pipe, labeled as "Fine Plains Catlinite Stem and Bowl." Photo: Skinner Auctioneers

Sacred pipe sold at auction being returned to tribes thanks to anonymous buyer

The Prairie Island Indian Community is offering thanks to an anonymous person who purchased a sacred pipe at an auction over the weekend.

The Minnesota-based tribe and others objected when they learned the pipe was being sold by Skinner Auctioneers in Massachusetts. According to the item's description, it was carved out of pipestone by White Dog, also known as Shoon-ka-ska. He was among the 38 Dakota men who were sentenced to death and hanged by the United States in 1862 following the Dakota War.

The auction house refused to stop the sale and the pipe sold on Saturday for $39,975, well above the estimate for the item. But it turns out the buyer intends to return it to Minnesota.

“We are humbled by and grateful for this honorable act,” President Shelley Buck of Prairie Island said in a statement quoted by the Minnesota media. “Pidamayaye [thank you] to the donor for your respect and generosity.”

The mass hanging took place December 28, 1862, at Mankato in Minnesota. It remains the largest mass execution in U.S. history, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Read More on the Story:
Sacred Dakota peace pipe sells for $40,000 — and buyer gives it back to Minnesota tribe (The Minneapolis Star Tribune May 9, 2018)
Mystery benefactor returns sacred pipe tied to U.S.-Dakota war (Minnesota Public Radio May 7, 2018)
Sacred pipe tied to U.S.-Dakota War to go to auction in Boston (Minnesota Public Radio May 1, 2018)

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