top of page

Our Team

Bear Butte Picture.jpg


A picture of the founder at Bear Butte State Park where I participated in my vision quest that brought me on this journey.

Heidi Swalve


I took an interest in the boarding school histories when I worked among the Native population.  Unknown to them I had a deep connection with Christianity so when hearing about these histories I became incredibly troubled.  Not long after this work, I started to research a missionary who worked among the Ojibwe prior to the start of the boarding schools.  In so doing this research he turned out to be an incredible missionary whose actions outweighed his speech.  His name was Father Frederic Baraga.  This research that I have done can be found on

The interesting thing about this missionary is that he passed just prior to the start of the boarding schools.  I have always wondered what he would have done if he knew of the harms that happened to the Native populations after his passing.  But in researching him I realized one thing.  I couldn't research his work and not do something for the Native populations.  I realized that I had a responsibility. 


And not only did I have a responsibility I realized that I had been prepared my entire life to take on this role to start this organization.  I have a bachelors in Business Administration.  I have a certificate in Business Entrepreneurship.  I have worked in esteemed non-profit organizations in accounting and finance.  I have life history with the Native populations and Christianity.  Somehow, outside of my life experiences, I have gained work and educational experiences that allow me to begin this journey.  I knew that it was meant to be.  



A picture of myself at the Pipestone Depot with Bud and Rona who began the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers

Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers

Fiscal Sponsor for Healing Wounds

The Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers was established in 1998 in Pipestone, MN.  Pipestone, MN is the location where only one of the three largest quarries in the world exists that carries the stone that can be used for their native pipes.  The black pipestone can be found in Canada.  The other readily carved pipestone is in the quarries next to the Pipekeepers store.  


The Keepers goal is to help others know and understand the Native traditions and histories.  They dedicated their lives to helping ensure that the pipestone quarries would be available for use by all Native populations.  In addition they have traveled extensively all over the world to teach about the Native traditions and cultures.  They have even spent some of their time going to churches so that others can have a greater understanding of the Native people.

I had the privilege of working for Bud and Rona in the year 2020 after the work that I did at a Catholic 
School in the Twin Cities.  During this timeframe I lived and worked among the native pipes, studied Father Baraga and the Native histories in the mornings and then taught about what I learned in the afternoons with those who walked into the 'depot'.  I learned about how many people are truly open and want to learn about the native histories and traditions during that time.  It is my privilege to continue my work with them and am honored that they have considered becoming a fiscal sponsor for Healing Wounds.  

bottom of page