Bear Butte and the Struggle for Religious Freedom

Bear Butte in South Dakota is a sacred site which is used as a vision quest site for the Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne. The Sioux describe Bear Butte as their most sacred altar. The Seven Sacred Rites of the Sioux were learned at the top of this mesa.

View from Bear Butte

The view from Bear Butte is shown above.  

For the Cheyenne, Bear Butte is known as Sacred Mountain and is the place where Maheo (the Supreme Being) gave their cultural hero, Sweet Medicine, the four Sacred Arrows, which allowed them access to Maheo’s power. The Cheyenne call this place Noahavose (also spelled Nowah’wus which means “The Hills Where the People are Taught”). On their historic migration to the Plains under the leadership of Sweet Medicine, a great door opened in Noahavose. Sweet Medicine was called inside by Maheo (the All Being). For four years Sweet Medicine remained in this lodge within and was instructed in the codes of law and behavior. Before returning to his people, Sweet Medicine was then given four sacred arrows. Thus, this is the holiest site in the Cheyenne world.

The Sioux Vision Quest:

Bear Butte is an important site for the Sioux vision quest, known as hamblecha. During the vision quest, the seeker finds a solitary place on Bear Butte to sing and pray out loud. Vision quest supporters wait below and sing songs and pray. Instruction and preparation for hamblecha can take a full year and may include a four-year commitment to the teacher with an expectation to repeat the quest on each of four years. At one time, those seeking the vision would stake themselves to a single place by placing a hardwood skewer under the skin of the chest and attaching a leather thong between this skewer and a stake in the ground.

Prior to the vision quest, the seeker goes through a sweat lodge ceremony in order to cast off all human fleshly influences. With regard to the completion of the vision quest, Sioux physician Charles Eastman wrote:

“When he returned to the camp, he must remain at a distance until he had again entered the sweat lodge and prepared himself for intercourse with his fellows. Of the vision or sign vouchsafed to him he did not speak, unless it had included some commission which must be publicly fulfilled.”

In most visions, animals or birds appear and there is a correlation between the animal or bird and the type of power, knowledge or skill.

Among the Sioux, both men and women are able to receive power through a vision. Those who receive the strongest powers become medicine people or shamans.

Twentieth Century:

In 1962, Bear Butte was acquired by the State of South Dakota for development as a State Park. As a State Park it was to have a visitor’s center, campgrounds, and parking lots. Tourists were to be given maps to its trails and provided with viewing platforms and signs that indicated where Indians could be spotted fasting. Instead of understanding the vision quest as a religious ceremony, the tourists would view it the same way that they viewed the powwows: once again the Indians would be on display.

Bear Butte Sign

During a vision quest at Bear Butte in 1965 Sioux spiritual leader Frank Fools Crow was told in his vision that he was to tell certain things about himself and his people. The result was the 1979 book Fools Crow edited by Thomas Mails.

In 1973, Bear Butte was listed as a National Historical Place. In 1981 Bear Butte was listed as a National Historical Landmark.

In 1982, a group of traditional Sioux spiritual leaders, including Frank Fools Crow, filed suit against the South Dakota State Parks Department. In the case of Fools Crow versus Gullet, the Sioux traditionalists argued that the South Dakota State Parks Department had destroyed the sanctity of Indian religious ceremonies at Bear Butte. They argued that the state’s construction of access roads, parking lots, and other facilities, including wood platforms to allow tourists to photograph sacred ceremonies, interfered with their free exercise of religion. The courts, however, found that granting Indian rights would violate separation of church and state. With regard to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, the courts noted that it was unclear if the Act governs state governments or agencies. The court agreed that Bear Butte was vital to the exercise of Lakota and Cheyenne religion. However, it rejected the argument that the state’s management of the site interfered with the free exercise of their religion. The decision was upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

In 1982, the manager of Bear Butte State Park sent out a notice to Sioux and Cheyenne leaders informing them that they could no longer gather sage, hackberry or wild rose within the park. Furthermore, there could be no sweat lodges held while the parking lot was being expanded and the new access roads were being paved. Finally, all Indians would have to purchase five-day permits in order to fast and pray at this sacred site.

A 1996 fire on Bear Butte burned more than 800 acres of timber and grass. Some traditional spiritual leaders felt that the fire was a cleansing of the misuse of this sacred area. This misuse included complaints about non-Indians attempting to do ceremonies they know nothing about; the removal of tobacco ties and flags by Indians because of concerns that they would be touched and/or taken by non-Indians; and by some incidents of drunkenness and nudity.

The federal government extended cultural property designation status to Bear Butte in 1997. This designation not only highlights the historic and cultural associations of Bear Butte with the Plains Indians, but it also provides some protection to the site and provides guidelines to preserve it.

In 2003, a shooting range was proposed near Bear Butte. The complex was to be built with a federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead of contacting the tribes, the builders notified the state Office of Tribal Government Relations of their plans. Indian officials pointed out that this office did not speak for all of the 17 tribes which use Bear Butte for ceremonies. Indian spiritual leaders pointed out that the estimated 10,000 rounds per day being fired from rifles and handguns would affect the silence and serenity of the people who come to Bear Butte to pray and seek spiritual guidance. The state of South Dakota cancelled the $511,200 in federal grant money.

In 2004, Northern Cheyenne tribal councilman Alberta Fisher and councilman Jace Killsback purchased a 160-acre campground at the base of Noavose (Bear Butte). The Cheyenne Land Authority constructed camping structures, shades, and outhouses for use by tribal members during ceremonies.

In 2006, Alex White Plume, the President of the Olgala Lakota Nation, wrote to President George W. Bush regarding the Lakota’s sacred site at Bear Butte:

“Indian peoples’ ability to survive into the future depends largely on our ability to maintain, protect and promote our traditional and cultural beliefs, which includes our ability to practice our spiritual beliefs in privacy and without disruption. This is not merely a cultural and spiritual concern; it is a matter of human rights that exist in international law.”

The President did not respond.

In 2011, the State Board of Minerals and Environment ruled that Nakota Energy could drill exploratory oil wells near Bear Butte. The company was to be allowed to drill five wells outside of the boundaries of the Bear Butte National Historic Landmark. The company did not initially consult with the tribes as the proposed oil field is on private land. However, about one-third of the original proposed drilling area is within the boundaries of the state park. In response to Indian complaints, the Board of Minerals and Environment agreed to limit the number of wells and to require that they be drilled outside the boundary of the National Historic Site.

Oil Map

In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Bear Butte on its list of Most Endangered Places. The site was listed as endangered because of proposed wind and oil energy development. It is felt that this energy development would negatively impact the sacred site and degrade the cultural landscape.

In 2011, the South Dakota State Legislature voted to revise the procedure for reissuing certain alcoholic beverage licenses. While the tribes have opposed any licenses for venues surrounding Bear Butte, the new legislation means that liquor license renewal hearings will no longer be held.

At the present time, there are three tribes with a vested interest in Bear Butte, in that they own property and pay property taxes: The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe own 1,080 acres on the east side of the mountain; the Rosebud Sioux Tribe owns 40 acres on the north side; and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe owns 40 acres on the west side, 160 acres on the north side, and 440 acres on the northeast side.

According to the State Park website:

In most religions, specific areas or sites hold great spiritual significance. Bear Butte is such a place.

Many Native Americans see the mountain as a place where the creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer.

During your visit, you will see colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from the trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship. Please respect these offerings and leave them undisturbed.

Source: http://black-hills-south-dakot…

Bear Butte Banner

Bear Butte, Blackwater, & Helicopter Rides…

“Mommy, I wanna see some real Indians praying! Can we take a helicopter ride, pleeeeaasse?” Johnny’s mother, pleased, replied “Yes sweetie, why Blackwater, the greatest homegrown American terrorist organization –


Blackwater Down

The frightening — and possibly illegal — presence of heavily armed private forces in New Orleans only demonstrates what everyone already feared: the utter breakdown of the government.

– has helicopter rides going over Bear Butte.”

Photobucket


Decision on Bear Butte issue 7-1-08

They spent a hour of the hearing testifying about military issues, and praising David Shoe, since he was previously involved in Blackwater, had been in Afganstitan and Iraq and apparently has secret service clearance, even today. They actually brought previous military personnel here to testify on behalf of David Shoe’s character, for a liquor license at a bar located at Bear Butte.

They used the war, they used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license license.

Does anyone see the irony here? Can someone please explain what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?

“But mommy, mommy, that Blackwater man said he might have to shoot an American citizen, would he shoot an Indian too?” “Don’t worry about that dear, we only commit cultural genocide against Indians and they haven’t been citizens that long,” the mother said. She continued, “I don’t know little Johnny, they ‘have already strong armed some American Indians who were on public land taking pictures,’ and don’t worry your pretty little head about it – you wouldn’t know if they did anyways and few people would care enough to do much about it.”

(Emphasis mine)


Subject: Protection for Mato Paha (Bear Butte)

Despite protests of American Indian People and other supporters, the county has granted alcohol licenses to the bars. Recently, a corporation has purchased majority ownership in the bar closest to Mato Paha and they are going to have helicopter rides over the butte. We are informed this corporation is affiliated with or are former Blackwater high clearance mercenaries and have already strong armed some American Indians who were on public land taking pictures.

“This is fun mommy! They have those funny – looking colored things around them and they’re weird. Should we be seeing this though mommy, isn’t this like if when you go to the priest and confess, having the confessional walls be made out of plexiglass?” She got angry. “Little Johnny. Those R——ns don’t own that land, even if we did promise it to them in some stupid treaty. The Lord gave us this land by his power and his word, and that’s the end of it!”

Little Johnny answered, “But mommy, if that happened to them, then can’t it happen to us one day if we do nothing about it?”


In Land Conservation, ‘Forever’ May Not Last

When people commit to conserving land, the commitment is often meant to last forever. This is true not only of national and state parks, but also of private land.

Private conservation agreements have protected millions of acres across America, but an unanswered question looms. If circumstances change, can “forever” be undone? That question is at the heart of a legal battle in Johnson County, Wyo.

She became enraged and yelled, “Where’s daddy’s belt!!!”

Photobucket

Bad News about Bear Butte

( – promoted by navajo)

“We continue to believe that someone important someplace cares and will do something before our situation becomes impossible.” Fools Crow from “Fools Crow,” by Thomas E. Mails. p. 217

It’s gone from bad,


Please forward in its entirety.

Press release

Corporate America ~vs~ Sacred Sites

Decision on Bear Butte issue 7-1-08

written by: Tamra Brennan

On July 1st, 2008 the Meade County Commissioners voted 3 – 2 to approve Jay Allen’s liquor license, for the Broken Spoke Campground located at Bear Butte.

There were two separate issues discussed regarding liquor license applications. The initial license for Jay Allen, which was revoked on December 5, 2007, appealed in January, then remanded back to the Meade County Commissioners by Judge Bastian on April 14, 2008. Meade County Commissioners appealed the judges decision, in June the South Dakota Supreme Court, denied the appeal, again sending it back to Meade County Commissioners.

to worse.

The second issue was the new liquor license application filed by David Shoe, General Manager for the new investors Target Logistics, Broken Spoke Campground LLC.

Target Logistics has paid off all of Jay Allen’s outstanding debts for Broken Spoke Campground, LLC with the exception of one that is currently in litigation. They have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, into this place already. Jim Seward attorney for Target Logistics also stated that Jay Allen still owns 30% of the stock, which contradicts everything that they have testified to previously, which was that Jay Allen is no longer involved. These people change their story at every hearing.

Target Logistics Corporation showed up at the hearing with 12-15 suits, including the CEO, various attorneys and military personnel. They spent a hour of the hearing testifying about military issues, and praising David Shoe, since he was previously involved in Blackwater, had been in Afganstitan and Iraq and apparently has secret service clearance, even today. They actually brought previous military personnel here to testify on behalf of David Shoe’s character, for a liquor license at a bar located at Bear Butte.

They used the war, they used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license.

Does anyone see the irony here? Can someone please explain what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?

The supporters for the Bear Butte issue were sitting listening to this testimony, wondering what any of this had to do, with Meade County and a bar at Bear Butte?

Several people stood up and questioned these statements and motives.

Jack Doyle, a local Meade County resident continually testifies against our side, and always includes disgusting and racist comments, stated “Indians do not own Bear Butte mountain, they are their as guests, if its not suitable for them they can go somewhere else.”

Another local, life long resident and Bear Butte supporter stood up and addressed the Commissioners and Target Logistics, stated she felt that Target Logistics was making a bad business decision, and they obviously had not done a business marketing analysis, that there have been two local campgrounds go bankrupt over this past two years, maybe they should go invest in one of the bankrupt campgrounds, there is one available in Whitewood. She received a huge applaud from the Bear Butte supporters.

I did record the hearing and will be cutting it down, it’s an hour and a half, once I get that done, I will be posting it on our new blog talk radio show. It should be up within the next day. I will send out a link, once it is up and running.

It will also be posted on our website

http://www.protectbearbutte

Because it was the appealed license that was approved, I am going to be doing some checking and see what actions, if any, that we can take next to appeal this decision.

Needless to say, this is simply another case of Corporate America ~vs~ Native American people and sacred sites, and we lost, yet again.

In peace & solidarity,

Tamra

http://www.NDNnews.com

www.ProtectSacredSites.org

www.protectbearbutte.com

Sign up for email updates about Bear Butte!

“Providing news and information about Native American Issues & Causes”

“Helping to make a difference for our people in Indian Country, one day at a time.

What will you do today to help make a difference?”

“Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?”

Join our friends list on my space at http://www. myspace.com/ndnnews

and

www.myspace.com/protectsacredsites

Also, join our yahoo group at Protecting our Ancestors & Sacred Sites

Photobucket

Two things stand out. The ignorance with racism,

Jack Doyle, a local Meade County resident continually testifies against our side, and always includes disgusting and racist comments, stated “Indians do not own Bear Butte mountain, they are their as guests, if its not suitable for them they can go somewhere else.”

and the fact they “used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license.”

Target Logistics Corporation showed up at the hearing with 12-15 suits, including the CEO, various attorneys and military personnel. They spent a hour of the hearing testifying about military issues, and praising David Shoe, since he was previously involved in Blackwater, had been in Afganstitan and Iraq and apparently has secret service clearance, even today. They actually brought previous military personnel here to testify on behalf of David Shoe’s character, for a liquor license at a bar located at Bear Butte.

They used the war; they used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license.

Does anyone see the irony here? Can someone please explain what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?

Racism and anti -Indian sentiments are a foregone conclusion, they allow the thieves to justify what they’re doing. But as for “what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?” It’s probably, you know, a secret.

Top Secret

 

Action Call: BEAR BUTTE ISSUE MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER!

( – promoted by navajo)


Kevin Woster:


Many years ago, the federal courts ruled that the Black Hills of western South Dakota had been taken illegally from the American Indian tribes –

As governor, would you consider transferring Bear Butte State Park land and management to a consortium of American Indian Tribes as a gesture of reconciliation from the state?

Mike Rounds, Republican candidate in 2006:


“I do not believe that Bear Butte State Park, and it is a state park,
should be transferred to a Native American tribe.

I’m not sure which Native American tribe you might suggest (that) you hold
that they are all sovereign.

SD Governors Discuss Bear Butte


Why is the Bear Butte issue more critical than ever?

From Protect Bear Butte:

(Seems only first link in bulletin is still working)

Contact us at info@ProtectBearButte.com


—————– Bulletin Message —————–

From: NDN News

Date: Apr 23, 2008 10:17 PM

Hello Everyone,

Please forward this flier widely! If you can, print them out, distribute them, post them, whatever you can think of! Please help spread the word! If you want it as a Microsoft word document, for easier printing, email me! We appreciate all of your help and support to protect sacred sites!

Thank you!In peace & solidarity,(name not posted)

www. NDNnews. com

www. ProtectSacredSites. org http://bearbutte. blogspot. com/“Providing news and information about Native American Issues & Causes” “Helping to make a difference for our people in Indian Country, one day at a time.

What will you do today to help make a difference?” “Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?”

Join our friends list on my space at http://www. myspace. com/ndnnews andhttp://www.myspace.com/protectsacredsites

Also, join our yahoo group at Protecting our Ancestors & Sacred Sites

Photobucket

Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation is a grass roots organization, which works towards protecting our sacred sites across the country. We are a local organization actively working on the Protection of Bear Butte, in South Dakota.

BEAR BUTTE ISSUE MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER! SACRED SITES ARE WORTH THE FIGHT! Greetings to all my relations, I am writing to you today to alert you to the commercial desecration of land held sacred by nearly all the Plains American Indian Nations, Bear Butte.  This blatant disregard for the spiritual beliefs and traditional and cultural treasure of thousands of people is evidenced by the continuing and mounting presence of bars, clubs, strobe lights, a proposed stadium, and other venues of crass commercial entertainment. Bear Butte is a sacred site located eight miles west of Sturgis, South Dakota. It is registered as a National Historical Landmark. Bear Butte is sacred to the Plains Tribes, many continue to travel to the mountain each summer to pray and hold their annual ceremonies. Instead of praying in peace, traditional people are forced to pray with loud music from bars, mufflers and flashing strobe lights over the mountain. For the past few years there has been a continual encroachment of bars and venues heading towards the sacred mountain. In the summer of 2006, the massive two story bar opened just one mile from the mountain, called Sturgis County Line. Their goal is to have a 50,000 seat concert stadium and a RV park, in addition to the newly built two story bar. The owner of this location, Jay Allen has been disrespectful from the start. He initially wanted to call the location “On Sacred Ground” and erect an 80-foot Indian statue pointing towards the sacred mountain. Of course this was not viewed lightly, there has been a major battle to shut Jay Allen down, ever since.

There have been several developments since the summer of 2006, expansions are in progress and things are potentially getting worse. On April 14, 2008, Jay Allen announced a new partnership with a travel corporation from Boston, MA. In addition to this new partnership, they announced their plans to open the Sturgis County Line, year round. Biker rally events are NOW scheduled in June, July and August for the Sturgis Rally. So far, over a thousand bikers are scheduled to attend each event in June and July. The concert venue will be moving forward, by next summer they could have a 50,000 seat concert stadium, one mile from Bear Butte! With this new year round expansion, it will virtually become impossible ALL summer, to pray in peace at Bear Butte.  This issue has escalated and is now, more critical than ever. We are continuing the struggle to Protect Bear Butte and hope you will join us in these efforts!  

What YOU can do to help! Help us create awareness for the continual desecration of sacred sites, including Bear Butte. Get actively involved! Take Action! Help spread the word! The goal is to create public awareness across the country about desecration of our sacred sites! Being proactive and creating awareness, is one of the many ways, WE EACH can help to make a difference. Join our Bear Butte Working Group! We need pro-active, dedicated people who are willing to help in this continual struggle. Email us to find out how YOU can help Protect Bear Butte!  Talk with as MANY BIKERS as you can! Ask for their support on this issue, to not endorse Jay Allen’s Sturgis County Line.

The motto is Bikers for Bear Butte!

Sign up for our email updates! We send out announcements, updates, action alerts, upcoming meetings, hearings and information about current status.

Contact us at info@ProtectBearButte.com

BEAR BUTTE PRAYER GATHERING

The Bear Butte Prayer Gathering will be held from August 1st – 12th on 120 acres of Federal Trust Land managed by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.  The land is located on the southwest side of the mountain, just north of the Bear Butte State Park entrance. 

After several meetings between a group of organizers from across South Dakota and the Northern Cheyenne tribe, a concerted effort is in progress to make this prayer camp a reality for all tribes who have paid homage to this mountain for centuries past and for those whose spirituality has brought them to this sacred site only recently. 

Special focus of prayer activities are for servicemen men and women, and nations impacted by armed conflict and hunger, as well as for the protection of the mountain and effects of global warming.

A brief history of the Bear Butte issue includes the encroachment of bars and campgrounds onto sacred lands.  “Recently, there has been a push by big businesses and individuals who reap economic gain at astronomical levels during the annual Sturgis Bike Rally to use the sacred site of the northern plains tribes to boost their income by exploiting its beauty and sacredness in return for greenbacks.  It has become evident that federal laws passed to protect sacred sites for indigenous peoples in this country have no meaning.  Money, it seems, is considered more powerful and more important than the creation, the land and its natural people are suffering in its wake,” stated Anne White Hat, member of the Bear Butte Prayer Gathering Working Committee and the Bear Butte International Alliance.

“Many attempts to seek justice and compromise by the tribes with the local Meade County Commissioners have seemed to substantiate this over and over again,” indicated Jay Red Hawk, member of the Working Committee and the Bear Butte International Alliance.  Tribal representatives indicated they have been dismissed, ignored, and treated with disrespect in their attempt to stop encroachment onto sacred lands as the commission continues to grant big business and individuals access to these areas of land for inflated land prices.  “Prices that many tribes or individuals cannot afford, not to mention the blatant treaty violations that continue play a role in any land transactions in the Black Hills as a whole,” furthered Red Hawk.

The most recent development just 1 mile of the north face of Bear Butte is owned by Arizona-based developer Jay Allen who has boasted his intention of building the largest biker bar in the world covering over 600 acres.  Tribes have pushed for a 4 mile buffer zone around the sacred mountain to protect the land and those tribal people who may be praying on the mountain during the time of year that the bike rally takes place.  Just days after the 2005 Sturgis motorcycle rally several tribal members met with Jay Allen to discuss concerns about the potential impact of his development, the Sturgis County Line.  “When Allen was informed about the sacrifices made annually by tribal people at Bear Butte, his response was simply, ‘They should know better than to pray up there during the rally, how naive,'” reported the Bear Butte International Alliance.  Since that statement, Allen has been able to complete construction of a bar with a parking lot to hold over 100 bikes and cars, both of which are within 3 miles of the sacred mountain. 

Smaller scale setups have come to exist even closer, the Free Spirit Campground is actually at the base of the north face and even up the side and houses a small bar to host bands and strippers.  Sacred tobacco ties left on the mountain by native people can be seen around the tents that campers set up to stay at the Free Spirit Campground.  A fifteen minute helicopter ride is made available during the rally so bikers and tourists can fly around the top of the sacred mountain for $85 dollars per flight.  “Many tribal people who pray on the mountain at this time are disrupted constantly and must endure the constant noise of rock bands and the drone of bikes twenty four hours a day,” reported Red Hawk.

Currently tribes are organizing to continue the struggle for recognition of religious freedom and protection of Bear Butte mountain as a sacred site.  Many tribes hold a vast history of homage to this sacred mountain through spiritual covenants and creation history.  Tribal affiliation with Bear Butte dates back thousands of years and various tribes each have their significant tribal name for this mountain that represents their own history.  “Within this history is the instruction to pay homage during a particular time of the year when all of creation is in attention and human beings make sacrifices for continued life on this earth.  This time of year has been dictated for thousands and thousands of years while the Sturgis Bike Rally is a miniscule 67 years old.  Who is being naive here?” said camp organizer Marcella Gilbert.

“Fortunately by creation human nature holds compassion and truth in light even in the most challenging of times and the biker culture has proven that these values can be powerful,” remarked Gilbert.  Bikers locally and nationally have offered support to this issue in many ways, one of which was by the Southern Cruisers who hosted a rally near New Orleans recently to support the efforts of protecting this sacred site from encroachment.  Many bike rally attendees are in support of allowing native people to have their space to pray, and have offered to stay away from highway 79 during the rally.  Simple gestures build big success and community.  “A big thank you goes out to those bike rally participants who support the Bear Butte issue with simple gestures, including deciding not to ride near Bear Butte,” said Gilbert. 

The Bear Butte Prayer Gathering is a spiritual encampment scheduled for August 1-12, 2007.  The first 4 days will encompass setting up camp logistics, which will involve a lot of work.  Anyone who wants to assist in this working process is welcome during those first 4 days of August.  August 5-11th the camp will focus on prayer and August 12th will be the day we break camp.  Tribes are encouraged to attend and all other people who believe in prayer and protection of the earth are welcome.  Please be as self sufficient as possible as there are limited resources for showers and toilets.  Open fires will not be allowed, bring coleman or solar stoves or something similar that is controllable for cooking needs. 

The camp will be set up in traditional camp circles and follow strict traditional protocol and natural law.  Videotaping, loudspeakers, alcohol, drugs, violence, weapons, confrontation, cultural or spiritual exploitation will not be tolerated.  Persons or groups who can not follow traditional protocol will be asked to leave the premises.  This is not a protest camp. 

Media communication will be filtered through the Bear Butte working committee who will have designated spokespersons who will speak on behalf of the encampment.  Please be aware that the weather will most likely be very hot.  Remember to have plenty of water available and be able to find some place cool if need be. 

Children are welcome however please be aware that the open range buffalo pasture is very close to the camp site therefore keeping a close eye on your children is a must. 

The Bear Butte working committee is working hard to attain resources to provide a first aid station in cases of emergencies and minimal comforts for the elderly if possible.  For a detailed list of needs, please visit our website at www.BearButtePrayerGathering.org go to the “How you can help section” for our latest needs list. 

You can also now make your donations via Pal Pal, by visiting our website and clicking on the Contribution Link. Many needs remain to be met and your tax-deductible contributions and donations can be sent to the
Bear Butte International Alliance,
PO Box 4232,
Sturgis, SD 57785. 

===============================
Logistics and Preparation
August 1 – 12, 2007

After several meetings between organizers from across South Dakota and the Northern Cheyenne tribe, a concerted effort is in progress to make this prayer camp a reality for all tribes who have paid homage to this mountain for centuries past and for those whose spirituality has brought them to this sacred site only recently. At this time we are calling on those who wish to participate and those who wish to support this gathering to assist us with preparation.

The schedule for the week is as follows:

August 1st – 4th Prepare the Camp – Blessing of the Grounds Those who wish to assist in preparing the campgrounds and setting up the camp are urged to arrive during this time.

August 5th – 11th Prayer Days Those who wish to participate in prayer and scheduled activities should arrive during these days.

August 12th Take down the Camp.

A more detailed daily schedule will be announced.

There are many ways you can help. We are posting various ‘wish’ lists along with a budget for this gathering and respectfully request your assistance to help us provide basic services, including first-aid/medical services and at least one evening meal a day. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide this grassroots effort. Any amount of assistance or funding is always appreciated, no amount is too small, it all helps to make a difference!

WATER
Water buffalos (large water tanks on a trailer), water tanks, Large beverage cooler,s Bottled water

MEALS
We are asking organizations, programs, community groups, families, and businesses to consider sponsoring or co-sponsoring one or more meals. Donations of water, food and supplies are more than welcome! We are also asking for monetary donations to rent a refrigeration unit, please refer to the budget if you or your group is interested in assisting with this need.

FIRST AID TENT
We are seeking volunteer doctors, nurses, medics, first-response teams, etc. to help ensure basic medical assistance and first aid is available throughout the gathering. Canopy Tent, Cots, snake bite kits, First-Aid kits, medical supplies, water, Gatorade, Powerade, electrolyte replenishing fluids, water coolers.

SHADE, LIGHTING AND CAMPING SUPPLIES
Canopy tents are needed, all sizes and shapes. Flashlights, Batteries, and solar lighting. There is no access to electricity or open fires so we need creative lighting systems and supplies. Tables, chairs, benches, Tipi’s, poles, tents Propane, propane cookstoves, coffee pots, pots, cooking utensils, serving dishes. Cleaning supplies

SIGNAGE
Paint, brushes, plywood, banner and sign making materials, fabric or banner material, and volunteer painters and carpenters.

SECURITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
As horse-mounted security will be provided, we are seeking assistance with horse care needs, including, watering tanks, tack, temporary fencing/corral, horse feed and hay. Radio units, flashlights, batteries

DOCUMENTATION
As a way to document this gathering from the voices of the participants, we encourage daily journaling by all. Take a few minutes to express your experience throughout your stay at Bear Butte. Please consider donating notebooks, journals, and pens.

CHILDREN’S TENT
We would appreciate your help in providing a youth centered area for children of all ages. This can be a place where we can culturally engage and enrich children and young adults through art, music and storytelling. Please consider donating: canopy tent, shading, storytellers, drummers, singers, artists, teachers, grandma?s, art supplies, journals, seating.

BUDGET
A1 Portables (porta-potties) $27.50/day/toilet x 12 x20 $6600
Dumpsters deposit $2000 3 dumpsters(10yrd) x $175 + 4% tax $546.00
Emptying of dumpsters 2 dumpings x 546.00 $1092.00
Landfill charge $38.11 x 3 tons $114.33
Refrigerator truck (24 ft) $150/day x 12 days $1800.
Diesel fuel $3.00 x 40 gals x 4 fills $480
Food and water 12 days x 500+ persons (estimated) $6000
TOTAL $18,632.33 

We may not need 3 of the 10-yard size dumpsters but estimated on the higher end, as well with the porta-potties.

DONATIONS
  Please contact members of the Working Group to coordinate your generous offer of help and thank you again for any assistance you can provide this grassroots effort.

Monetary donations are tax-deductible and can be made payable to:
Sicangu Way of Life Project or the Bear Butte International Alliance Mail to:
Bear Butte International Alliance
PO Box 4232
Sturgis, SD 57785

Remember to mark your gift to the “Bear Butte Prayer Gathering”.

Please visit our website to make an online donation: www.BearButtePrayerGathering.org

Please arrive and be prepared to be as self sufficient as possible. No open fires.

For Information and to Support this Grassroots Effort with Much-Needed Donations please contact Members of the Working Committee:
*  Tamra Brennan 605-347-2061 Tamra[at] ProtectSacredSites.org www.ProtectSacredSites.org
*  Gilbert Brady 406-477-3175 nochey01[at] yahoo.com
*  Marcella Gilbert 605-624-9288 twotails100[at] hotmail.com
*  Phillip Gullikson 605-624-9288 arikaria_king[at] hotmail.com
*  Jay Red Hawk 605-347-4127 cetanduta[at] yahoo.com
*  Anne White Hat 605-347-4127 BBIA[at] MatoPaha.org www.MatoPaha.org