The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Out of the Blue Zone—Trying to Protect a Mountain

Occasionally I encounter an issue that I feel very strongly about, usually an environmental issue, and I present it here; I call it “Out of the Blue Zone.” (An issue that is not in the Blue Ridge Mountains)

This time it’s about American Indian tribes trying to protect their sacred, Bear Butte, in the Black Hills historic site outside of Sturgis, South Dakota.

This issue should be important to all of us because, once you destroy the cultural value of an area like this, then a part of our countries history is lost forever!

American Indians Try to Protect Mountain

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Sacred GroundTobacco pouches and prayer flags hang from trees along a path leading to the top of Bear Butte outside Sturgis, S.D. The butte, a rocky mound on the northeast edge of the Black Hills is a sacred American Indian site where tribe members have been coming for centuries to fast and hold ceremonies. For over twenty years tribes nation wide have been buying up parcels of land around the 3,100 foot butte to protect it from being developed.

For a week every August, the sound of the South Dakota wind is replaced in the hills by the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This year's rally is Aug. 7-13, and Indians from several tribes are camping out near the butte in protest of bars and other entertainment venues they feel violate the sanctity of the 3,100-foot mountain.

"The mountain is sacred to us," said George Whipple, executive director of Tribal Land Enterprise, an arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. "Therefore, the cultural and spiritual value of the land was what was significant to us. By keeping with that tradition, we're also keeping it from being developed into a beer garden."

The butte — an ancient volcano that never erupted — and the land immediately around it are in a state park, but surrounding areas are open for commercial development. That development has been driven in part by the road rally, which attracted 525,000 bikers last year.

Please read the entirety of the article here.


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