Jeffers Petroglyphs :: Sacred Prairie

There is a placard at the Jeffers Petroglyphs that reads:

“All life is Wakan [Sacred]. So also is everything which exhibits power, whether in action, as the winds and drifting clouds, or in passive endurance, as the boulder by the wayside. For even the commonest sticks and stones have a spiritual essence which must be revered as a manifestation of the all-pervading mysterious power that fills the universe.” – Francis LaFlesche, Omaha

If you pause for a moment while visiting this site in Comfrey, Minnesota you might walk away with a greater understanding of this statement.

Jeffers Petroglyphs is set on an outcropping of hard Sioux Quartzite that is part of a ridge about twenty-three miles long, 800 feet wide and rises 100 to 300 feet above the surrounding prairie.  There are over 2,000 carvings, the oldest of which is estimated to be over 7000 years old.

Native Americans consider this a sacred place and people still visit for spiritual ceremonies and prayer.

The day we were there was unseasonably cool, insanely windy, and unbelievably gorgeous – just look at that sky!  Listening to the wind blow through the prairie grasses was  a little like listening to waves crashing in the ocean.  I typically prefer the ocean to the plains, but this gave me a little more appreciation for the beauty of the Midwest.

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And they let you walk on them, and touch them!  How cool is this?  My daughters, in 2014, touching these sacred carvings created by Native Americans over thousands of years.  (Not to mention a few “Billy loves Sally”‘s from the mid 20th century before anyone was concerned about preserving this place and it was a makeout spot for the farm kids in Southern Minnesota.  Yep, really.)

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This large rock is a Bison Rub.  Thousands of years of migrating bison scratching off their winter coats on this rock has polished it to a glass like finish.  Here are my sweet little daughters with their tiny little hands touching this stone that has been polished smooth by thousands of years of contact with giant buffalo. It all blows my mind a little.

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