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Opinion
Editorial: Permanent protection for Bear Butte


" Bear Butte is sacred ground to upwards of 60 American Indian tribes. Thousands of Indians make the pilgrimage to the isolated mountain north of Sturgis each year. As the town of Sturgis grows and its annual motorcycle rally continues in popularity, Bear Butte is becoming less isolated from encroaching development.

Bear Butte is a sacred site to Indians because it is viewed as a place where the creator communicates through visions and prayers. People who make the trek up the mountain in search of a vision often leave ribbons or prayer cloths tied to trees as an offering. In a very real sense, Bear Butte is sacred ground, a church for Indians to practice their religion.

The mountain itself is protected by the state of South Dakota as a state park, but the land surrounding Bear Butte is privately owned and used, for now, as ranch land.

How to protect Bear Butte from encroachment is a problem that Meade County, the state of South Dakota and especially Indian tribes must address now before it is too late."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Preserving Bear Butte (The Rapid City Journal 11/27)

Relevant Links:
Defenders of the Black Hills - http://www.defendblackhills.org/defenders

Related Stories:
Proposed bar near Bear Butte still under fire (10/31)
Man to change name, location of Bear Butte bar (10/28)
Respect urged at Bear Butte during high season (08/13)
Non-Indians press for access at sacred Bear Butte (07/16)
Plans for shooting range near sacred site scrapped (01/12)
Developers: Shooting range near Bear Butte still on (12/16)
Plans for shooting range near Bear Butte on hold (12/02)
Developers face deadline on proposed shooting range (11/14)
S.D. commission bans hunting at sacred site (11/07)
Janklow thought of shooting range by sacred site (10/17)
Janklow defends use of grant for shooting range (10/16)
S.D. governor says shooting range grant was OK (10/13)
Lakota group seeks protection of Black Hills (09/19)
S.D. to return grant for Bear Butte shooting range (09/19)
Protections for sacred sites called inadequate (06/19)
Federal funds used for shooting range near sacred site (03/25)
Judge to hear tribal suit against shooting range (3/19)
Four tribes file lawsuit to stop shooting range (03/04)