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Old 04-05-2006, 12:26 AM   #1
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Angry Beer license approved for biker complex near sacred mountain

Beer license approved for biker complex near sacred mountain

JOE KAFKA
Associated Press

STURGIS, S.D. - Despite vocal opposition from those trying to prevent encroachment on a mountain that is sacred to American Indian tribes, Meade County authorities unanimously approved a beer license Tuesday for a nearby campground, biker bar and concert area.

Bear Butte, an ancient volcano that never erupted, has long been a place where Indians have gone for religious and spiritual ceremonies. The 4,422-foot peak on the fringe of the Black Hills is within a state park and is protected as a National Historic Landmark.

However, the butte is surrounded by private property. One of those landowners is Jay Allen, who owns Broken Spoke Saloons in Sturgis, Laconia, N.H., Daytona, Fla., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Allen plans to open a bar about two and a half miles from the base of Bear Butte, using it to draw customers during a monster motorcycle rally that draws several hundred thousand people each August to Sturgis.

The mountain is just a few miles northeast of Sturgis. Allen would take advantage of the rally to fill his Sturgis County Line campground and sell untold amounts of beer.

Allen first announced development of the project on a square mile of prairie near Bear Butte last summer, proposing to call it Sacred Ground. He talked about building an 80-foot Indian statue as a tribute to tribes, but abandoned that plan and changed the name of the project to Sturgis County Line after opposition from Indians.

In the face of strong opposition from a room full of Indians from several tribes, Allen pledged Tuesday to be a good neighbor.

"I'm embarrassed that it's evolved to this," he said.

But Allen asserted that he had a right to develop his land, which totals about 600 acres.

State officials have said at least 17 tribes place special significance on Bear Butte. Others have said nearly 60 tribes consider the peak sacred. Bear Butte has been a state park since 1961, and a special area is set aside for Indian ceremonies.

Among those to speak Tuesday in opposition to the beer license was Russell Eagle Bear, a Rosebud Sioux tribal official who said the tribe would like a five-mile buffer zone around Bear Butte where no further development could take place.

The Rosebud Tribe bought 40 acres near the peak to help protect it, Eagle Bear said.

"We bought that land for spiritual and educational purposes for future generations," he said. "We want them to come to a safe place and be able to pray as they wish at ceremonies taught by our elders."

Indian groups, led by the Bear Butte International Alliance, oppose not only Allen's camping and entertainment complex but all development that would disturb the rural tranquility around the peak.

Generations of Indians have come to Bear Butte for prayer and spiritual meditation. Colorful strips of prayer cloth and pouches with offerings of tobacco and sage are tied to the branches of trees and bushes along the hiking trail to the top of the summit, which offers a view of four states.

Members of the coalition held a prayer gathering earlier Tuesday at Bear Butte. They later marched to the county courthouse for the hearing on the beer license.

Wilmer Mesteth, 50, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, was among those who made the mountain pilgrimage Tuesday.

"It's a sacred site to my people," he said. "We really believe that there's a spiritual being who dwells there."

The alliance has been pressing county officials to stop issuing beer and liquor licenses in a seven-mile radius of Bear Butte.

Opponents of Allen's project said thousands of noisy motorcycles and other large campground and entertainment complexes near Sturgis already disrupt the serenity of Bear Butte.

Carter Camp, representing the Intertribal Coalition To Defend Bear Butte, said Indians are outraged by rally related businesses that keep moving closer to the peak. Allen's campground along Highway 79 would make things worse by routing thousands of noisy motorcycles past Bear Butte during the annual event, Camp added.

"That's going to make it impossible for our people to go there and pray," he said. "Do not put a beer bar at the bottom of our sacred mountain."

Jessie Levin, whose family ranch is about 30 miles east of Sturgis, said traffic and the crush of people who attend the annual rally result in widespread littering, dust and many other problems. Rally related businesses keep springing up all over the area, and local residents are getting tired of the commotion, she said.

"When is enough enough?" Levin asked. "I want to know when it's going to stop."

Work on Allen's project is under way. Allen said he hopes to have the campground and biker bar ready for this year's motorcycle rally, an event that officially runs one week but also draws people for a week before and a week afterward.

Allen said much of the rolling prairie on his property would remain undisturbed.

"I don't want to overdevelop this property," he said.

The property is bordered by a mile-long stretch of Highway 79, north of Bear Butte.

Dean Wink, a county commissioner, said he understands the significance Indians attach to the butte. But he said other businesses in the area have received alcohol licenses, and it would be a denial of Allen's rights as a private property owner to forbid him the same opportunity.

Wink added, however, that there are plenty of places to drink in the Sturgis area.

"I'm not convinced that Meade County needs another biker bar," he said.

South Dakota legislators rejected a bill in January that would have forbidden alcohol licenses from being issued within four miles of Bear Butte. Lawmakers said the measure would overstep constitutional bounds by interfering with private property rights.

Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation Sioux keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, said at Tuesday's hearing that Allen's campground complex would disturb the serenity that generations of Indians have enjoyed while praying on the mountain, which stands alone on the prairie and is several miles east of the Black Hills range.

"We need a quiet place," said Looking Horse, wearing a fully feathered headdress and buckskin tunic. "Bear Butte is a very sacred place."

Allen's attorney, Bryce Flint, said Allen has cleared the project with neighboring landowners and would be a good steward of the property. "He's not going to trash it."

Jack Hoel, whose family owns 252 acres near Bear Butte, said Allen has run the Broken Spoke Saloon in Sturgis for 12 years without any problems. Hoel asserted that denying the campground beer license in deference to Indian religious objections would be showing an unconstitutional government endorsement of a religion.

State Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, who chairs the Legislature's State-Tribal Relations Committee, told the county officials that another biker bar in the shadow of Bear Butte would not be appropriate.

"We need to recognize that this is a very special place for a significant percentage of the South Dakota population," the state lawmaker said.

The disagreement over Allen's project goes beyond Bear Butte. Many Indians continue to insist that the U.S. government illegally took the Black Hills from tribes after gold was found near Deadwood. An 1868 treaty gave the western half of South Dakota to the Sioux, but Congress reversed the treaty in 1877 after hordes of settlers moved into the area.

The treaty dispute eventually wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 1980 that the government must pay the Sioux for taking away their land in the Black Hills. The high court awarded eight Sioux tribes $106 million, but they have refused to accept the money - which had swelled with interest to $570 million in a government account by 2001.

Some tribes have been buying land around Bear Butte to protect it from development. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe from Montana, which owns about 700 acres in the area, recently purchased another 36 acres from a private landowner who initially planned to use the land for a campground.

The Meade County Commission received more than 600 letters from people on both sides of Allen's beer-license request.

Charmaine White Face, coordinator of a group called Defenders of the Black Hills, sent the county commission a letter opposing any development within five miles of Bear Butte. Its religious and historic significance are "being eroded with the incursion of urban development," she wrote.

Defenders of the Black Hills, a watchdog group of volunteers, is raising money in an effort to buy land that could serve as a buffer around Bear Butte. The group had earlier stopped a gun range from being located in the area.

Bear Butte has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973

http://www.aberdeennews.com/mld/aber...s/14263473.htm

Tamra
www.NDNnews.com
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:55 AM   #2
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I agree that this man trying to open a bar right below our sacred mountain is wrong. I am planning to go to Sturgis very soon and be there to help, in all ways that I can. Bear Butte is a holy site for us, just like the christians use churches. Just because it's a mountain, it's not considered "HOLY"? What else are they going to try and take away from us? Our culture?
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDSIOUXGIRL
I agree that this man trying to open a bar right below our sacred mountain is wrong. I am planning to go to Sturgis very soon and be there to help, in all ways that I can. Bear Butte is a holy site for us, just like the christians use churches. Just because it's a mountain, it's not considered "HOLY"? What else are they going to try and take away from us? Our culture?
You might find this interesting........ it is a list of just some of the "other" holy mountains in the world.

THE HOLY MOUNTAINS

The first mountain is the Mount of Worship, Noah worshipping God under the first
rainbow.

The Second mountain is the Mount of Sacrifice, or Abraham offering up Isaac.

The third mountain is the Mount of Fire, or the mount of commandment, or God
commanding Moses to go down and deliver Israel.

The fourth mountain is the Mount of Law, or the mount of honor. No mountain was ever
honored like Mt. Sinai. God and Moses stood together and talked for forty days.

The fifth mountain is the Mount of Vision, or Nebo's heights, or Moses viewing the
Promised Land.

The sixth mountain is the Mount of Possession, or Caleb taking charge of Mount Hebron.

The seventh mountain is the Mount of Testing, or Elijah proving God.

The eighth mountain is the Mount of Blessing, or Christ on the mount.

The ninth mountain is the Mount of Transfiguration.

The tenth mountain is the Mount of Calvary.

The eleventh mountain is the Mount of Commission, or Christ giving the Commission to the
disciples to go out and preach the gospel to all nations.

The twelfth mountain is the Mount of Ascension, or the Son of God going back to the right
hand of the Father.

and........

http://www.holymtn.com/world.htm

I'm not going on any further.......but you get my point, are there bars around these? Hmmmm..... Pizzes me off ..... why is Bear Butte considered any different???????????
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:01 PM   #4
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lack of religion, faith, and the rights of other people--all in the name of bikers
lack of heart, trust, for other people--all in the name of bikers
lack of respect, honesty for other people--all in the name of bikers
jay allen has sold himself out for all of these qualities he no longer possesses--all in the name of bikers
just because christians have liqour stores close to their churches don't mean indians have to.
keep worshipping your almighty dollar just don't bring it to bear butte.
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