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Old 07-01-2006, 02:09 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte - 7/4/06

PRESS RELEASE on 30 June 2006

Debra White Plume
Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way
P.O. Box 325
Manderson, South Dakota 57756-0325
Voice Phone: 605-455-2155
Fax Phone: 605-455-1287
email: [email protected]
website: http://www.bringbacktheway.com/

Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte

A Sacred Mountain, Mato Paha, (Bear Butte) is the destination of Lakota, Osage, Ponca, Northern Cheyenne, and many other Tribal Nations across North America and Canada. Mato Paha is facing a gradual but definite desecration that is part of the development effort of businessmen who “own” land around the South Dakota state park of Bear Butte, which is also a national Historic Site, near the small town of Sturgis. Sturgis is in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a tourist destination in a state that depends, to a large part, on the tourism industry. Exploitation of the land and its indigenous people is a result of this tourism industry. Such exploitation includes the building of huge bars and concert amphitheatres at the foot of Mato Paha, to cater to a 7-day motorcycle rally, destroying the quiet and peace necessary for our Tribal Nations to pray, learn, and receive healing at our Sacred Mountain.

Today the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Owe Aku, and the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte moves to our Sacred Mountain. We begin
preparations for the July 4 Opening Ceremonies of the Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte. With sending our voice to the Universe at sunrise, we make our move. We look upon the making of a design of a pivotal moment in our history as Indigenous People and our struggles to protect our ways of life and our Sacred Places. We go in a humble way, as the two-legged, to stand with our Relatives of Creation.

While all of Mother Earth is Sacred, while all the Black Hills are sacred, Bear Butte is the mountain under the most direct threat so we will gather there to send our voice to our Creator and our Ancestors and ask them to stand with us, to ask our Sacred Mountain to stand with us, in this effort to protect our destiny as Lakota people and the many other Tribal Nations who hold Bear Butte as Sacred.

Why do the developers expect us to willingly give up our destiny? Why do they think they are greater than the destiny of the Lakota Nation? Our identity is interwoven with our Sacred Places. In many ways, this is our final defense, for if they wipe out our Sacred Places, they wipe out the Lakota Nation. Without our connection and relationship to our Sacred Places, we cannot be Lakota anymore.

We go to a peaceful camp, to gather our relatives from the four directions to make important decisions together, collectively, about our future and our generations. We go in a respectful way to our Sacred Mountain to protect our Human Right to pray there, learn there, receive healing there. This pivotal moment in history is a time for Indigenous People and our Allies to come together, to take courage, to stand together to in a good way to protect our Sacred Places and our destiny.

(A Summit of Indigenous People will also convene August 1-4, with relatives and allies from Turtle Island, crossing both “borders”, Canada and South America, to pray and talk about a collective strategy on long term sacred land protection.)

All are welcome to the Opening Ceremonies, 1pm, July 4, 2006 at the Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte encampment near the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Lodge, north of Bear Butte on Highway 79.

Please visit http://www.defendbearbutte.org/ for more information.
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:45 PM   #2
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Bikers and Bear Butte
By Kari Lydersen
Infoshop News - 27 June 2006
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/articl...2006bear_butte

In 1857, 30,000 Sioux and Cheyenne gathered at Bear Butte in South Dakota to plan how to deal with white settlers moving in on their sacred land. Native American warriors launched attacks on wagon trains from the mountain, incidents which are now commemorated in historical plaques along the highway. In 1874, Indian fighter George Custer visited Bear Butte, two years before making his infamous "last stand" at Little Bighorn. Chief Crazy Horse also spoke there, calling on his people never to sell the land.

The windswept mountain is sacred to about 30 regional Native American tribes, a spiritual respite for vision quests, healing, learning and praying. And they are still fighting to defend it from white men. Now instead of pioneers in covered wagons, their nemesis is a biker turned developer who is proposing one of the world’s largest biker bars at the foot of Bear Butte.

For about two weeks every summer, the stark hills and mesas of Bear Butte rise above an incongruous backdrop: hundreds of thousands of bikers from around the US and Europe attending the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Bikers camp at the Buffalo Chip campground about four miles from the mountain, drink beer and cheer rock groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Native Americans in the area are offended by the drinking and debauchery at the foot of their sacred mountain, but they have grudgingly tolerated the motorcycle rally for the about 60 years it has been going on. Now they are furious that an Arizona biker and developer wants to turn the biker party scene into a year-round presence, with a sprawling biker bar and campground within two miles of Bear Butte on it’s currently undeveloped north side.

"We’re trying to defend this mountain that’s sacred to our people for many generations, but we’re fighting against millionaire developers," said Victorio Camp, 31, a Pine Ridge reservation resident who grew up doing vision quests at Bear Butte. "This mountain is a place where spirituality comes from. It’s a place where we gather medicines and do ceremonies. It’s hard to go up there and pray when you have 100,000 motorcycles driving by."

Developer Jay Allen started out as a participant and leather vendor at the Sturgis rally. He was a regular at the Broken Spoke Saloon in a former Sturgis lumberyard. He ended up buying the bar in 1993, and then opened a chain of Broken Spokes in Florida, New Hampshire and South Carolina. For his new 600-acre development, he made clumsy efforts to reach out to Native Americans. He announced plans to call the complex "Sacred Ground," and feature an 80-foot statue of an Indian, a tipi village and an "educational center" about Native Americans – many bikers do feel an affinity with Native Americans and want to learn more about their culture. (Some bikers also oppose Allen’s development, and testified against his application for a liquor license at a public hearing.)

Local tribes did not appreciate Allen’s gesture, however, seeing it as a case of adding insult to injury, especially considering the history of the area.

Bear Butte is part of the Black Hills which the Lakota feel were stolen from them by the US government after the Treaty of Ft. Laramie in 1868. In 1923 they filed a lawsuit charging the land was seized without just compensation, and the suit slowly made its way through the courts all the way up to a US Supreme Court decision in 1980 in which the Justices upheld a lower court decision awarding the Lakota more than $100 million for the land. Tribes have refused to accept the money, instead continuing to demand that the land be returned.

Last fall the foundation was laid for Allen’s 22,500 foot bar, a huge asphalt parking lot and a 30,000-person-plus music venue he has said will serve "the biggest music acts known to mankind." (Allen could not be reached for comment, and Sturgis rally organizers declined to comment).

Meanwhile another developer has applied for permits for another bar and campground nearby. And venues for the summer rally have encroached closer and closer to the mountain, which is mostly a state park with areas reserved for Native ceremonies. Defenders of Bear Butte are calling for at least a five mile buffer zone between the mountain and new development.

Organizers of the Sturgis biker rally, which is no doubt a crucial part of the working class town’s economy, declined to comment on the biker bar plans. A county commissioner said that since Allen owns the land and his plans meet local codes, there is no reason for the government to interfere.

Camp is particularly concerned that the development is on the north of Bear Butte, whereas the rally festivities are mainly on the opposite side around downtown Sturgis.

"All this traffic from Sturgis will be coming by now," he said. "We’re worried about the animals, the wildlife."

Native Americans also don’t like the fact that drinking alcohol will be allowed and probably rampant at the music venue and campground.

"They’ll all be drunk, looking at our mountain, and they won’t see it as such a beautiful, pure place; they don’t know the majesticness and power the place has," said Camp. "They walk around naked and drink and ride bikes; to us that’s very disrespectful."

"You wouldn’t have this in front of a church, synagogue or hospital," added Lakota activist Debra White Plume. "That’s what Bear Butte is like to us."

Different tribes have formed the Bear Butte International Alliance to oppose the development, and petitioned the county to put Allen’s liquor license up for a county-wide vote. (Their request was denied). In late spring, 27 Cheyenne teenagers ran a two-day, 190-mile relay from their reservation in Montana to Bear Butte in protest. Tribal members plan to keep fighting Allen’s plan and other development proposals in various ways. Within the past few years their lobbying has helped defeat other development proposals, including a shooting range.

"We just want to hold on to what little we have left at this mountain," said Camp. "As Lakota it is our duty to protect the earth. We’re just trying to have people understand why it’s such a sacred place. But it feels like our rights are being stepped on again, the same thing that’s been happening since Columbus came."

Native Americans from around the country will come to Bear Butte in August for a summit on protecting sacred sites. White Plume said they are planning protest actions in Sturgis, and they plan to contact musicians who have played or might consider playing at the rally or new arena.

"We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life," she said. "This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life."

---------

Kari Lydersen is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, In These Times, LiP Magazine, Clamor, and The New Standard.

Infoshop News is a popular independent news site, online since 1997 and now with over 20,000 articles and editorials in its archives. Infoshop News is a news aggregator, independent news syndicate, forum, and publisher of original investigative journalism.

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Old 07-03-2006, 06:26 AM   #3
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He announced plans to call the complex "Sacred Ground," and feature an 80-foot statue of an Indian, a tipi village and an "educational center" about Native Americans – many bikers do feel an affinity with Native Americans and want to learn more about their culture. (Some bikers also oppose Allen’s development, and testified against his application for a liquor license at a public hearing.)
why does this guy not understand that this sounds more like "apeing" native americans rather than "honoring" them? Did he actually think that it was a guesture of good will or was his plan all along to cash in on the fact that it's at the base of a sacred mountain?
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:36 PM   #4
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Activists Gather at Bear Butte
By Dan Daly, Journal Staff Writer
Rapid City Journal - 4 July 2006
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...top/news02.txt

STURGIS, SD — American Indian groups have already begun gathering at the base of Bear Butte for a planned summer-long encampment to protest what they believe is the continuing encroachment of the Sturgis motorcycle rally on their sacred mountain, organizers said.

An opening ceremony set for 1 p.m. today will mark the official start of the gathering, said Debra White Plume of the Inter-Tribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte, one of several groups involved.

The gathering will be based at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe campsite north of the butte.

In addition, plans are in the works for an international Summit of Indigenous Nations set for Aug. 1-4 at Bear Butte.

By the time the Aug. 7-13 rally is under way, she said, thousands of people could be encamped at the Rosebud site and other tribal camp areas around Bear Butte.

During the rally, opponents plan to take their protest to the streets of Sturgis amid the crowded carnival of motorcycles, vendors and beer gardens.

“This is in response to the encroachment. … Every year, (the rally) gets closer and closer to Bear Butte,” she said.

Indians from a number of tribes, including the Lakota, the Northern Cheyenne, Osage and Ponca make pilgrimages to Bear Butte — known as Mata Paha — to fast, pray and undergo solitary vision quest ceremonies.

White Plume said the roar and rowdiness of the Sturgis rally makes that difficult.

Meanwhile, more beer licenses are on the Meade County Commission’s agenda for Friday, Meade County Auditor Lisa Schieffer confirmed.

The licenses are mostly for existing campgrounds that are being renewed or issued to new owners, she said. And none involve big concert venues that have been the target of the opposition groups to date.

However, White Plume said, members will likely attend Friday’s commission meeting to state their opposition once again.

For nine months, Indian groups, their non-Indian supporters and some east Meade County ranchers have formed a loose-knit coalition of opponents to new Sturgis rally week venues.

In recent years, the giant annual motorcycle rally has been on a collision course with the Bear Butte groups.

Live music has become increasingly important to rally bikers, and big-name concerts play nearly every night. But that kind of entertainment takes lots of land, and new venues are blooming on the prairies east of town.

The owner of Broken Spoke Saloon is building a new bar and campground called Sturgis County Line north of Bear Butte. He plans to later add a concert stage.

Glencoe CampResort, south of Bear Butte, has added a large concert venue called Rock’n the Rally.

Bear Butte groups have mostly directed their efforts toward persuading the Meade County Commission to deny beer or liquor licenses to the operators of the new venues. The venue operators and their supporters argue that as law-abiding property owners, they have a right to sell alcohol to rally bikers.

At every turn, the Meade County Commission has sided with the venue operators.

Opponents filed petitions to put the Broken Spoke license to a countywide vote, but the commission ruled that by law the license decision cannot be referred. The county faces a legal challenge in that case, and 4th Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich could issue a decision this week.

The debate apparently goes far beyond Bear Butte and Sturgis, however. Organizers of the Summit of Indigenous Nations in early August have invited representatives from as far away as Canada and Ecuador, White Plume said.

Topics will include other fronts in the conflict between tribal groups and non-Indian land projects.

In northern Arizona, for example, tribes are fighting a ski resort proposal in the San Francisco Peaks area near Flagstaff, Ariz.

Farther south, on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, the ancestral homeland of the Tohono O’odham, or Desert People, would be bisected by a U.S. government-planned wall to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States.
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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60 day Native American gathering begins at Bear Butte
http://www.defendbearbutte.org/

On the Fourth of July, hundreds of Native Americans began gathering at a camp near the foot of Bear Butte. This is the latest in a series of gatherings in Sturgis and near Bear Butte to protest liquor licenses being issued by Meade County for biker bars. One of the purposes of the gathering is to decide what to do next. The Native Americans gathered today are Lakotas, Cheyennes, Poncas and representatives from many other tribes from all over North America.

Many of them are descendants of native peoples who have been gathering at Bear Butte every year for centuries. The organizers say this gathering is intended partly as a strategy session to prepare for upcoming protests and gatherings later in the summer. As part of the 60 day encampment a gathering of nations will be held on August 1st through the 4th that organizers hope will recall the days of great gatherings of native peoples that used to happen at Bear Butte each year when thousands camped at the foot of the mountain.

It will also be called the Summit of Indigenous Peoples, and tribal leaders and elders hope it will be an educational experience for young people as well and a cultural and political experience as well.


Story by: Al Van Zee
Submitted: 2006-07-04 17:42:03

http://fox7.blackhills.com/news1.htm
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Old 07-05-2006, 04:55 PM   #6
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Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte - 7/4/06



Awe man.....



I thought Derek Matthews was going to carry a protest sign and prepare for a violent confrontation!

*L
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Old 07-09-2006, 03:50 PM   #7
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Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte - 7/4/06



Awe man.....



I thought Derek Matthews was going to carry a protest sign and prepare for a violent confrontation!

*L
I thought he was going to Bear Butte for a vision quest then come off the mtn and tell us ndn's that everything is gonna be alright and that this too shall pass!

Darn it I guess not! Shucks maybe Lita will do it!
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Old 07-13-2006, 02:21 AM   #8
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I am a non-Native but i dance, sing and learn about the Native American heritage and culture so I can better myself but i believe what is going on is wrong. Those bikers have no right to be doing what they are doing. If i could I would go and help rally and protest this act of great insult and disrepect with everyone else.
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:01 AM   #9
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Development in South Dakota Prompts Unlikely Coalition: Christians, Indians, Ranchers
By Stephen Gray
The Wall Street Journal - 14 July 2006

STURGIS, S.D. -- Jay Allen expects to spend $3 million on his new development near this town of 6,400. The three-story, 22,500-square-foot barn will house six bars, a restaurant, stores and a stage. But his ambitions now rest on a hotly disputed beer license for which he paid just $250.

Mr. Allen hopes his development, the Sturgis County Line, will attract many of the half-million bikers who come here each August for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. For now, though, it has attracted the opposition of an unlikely coalition: American Indians, white ranchers and Christian activists.

The main problem, as they see it, is that the Sturgis County Line and another complex are being built about two miles from Bear Butte, which rises about 1,100 feet from the prairie surrounding it. For thousands of years, Bear Butte -- or Mato Paha in the language of the Lakota American Indian tribe -- is considered sacred ground by dozens of tribes who pray there and view it as "the womb of mother Earth."

When Anne White Hat read about Mr. Allen's plans in a local newspaper, she was speechless. "We just couldn't believe someone would actually be so naïve to think they could do this, with total lack of respect and knowledge about native people," says Ms. White Hat, a Lakota.

Christians see an opportunity to limit the spread of rowdy biker bars and strip clubs. Ranchers complain their cattle have contracted pneumonia after breathing copper-colored dust stirred up by bikers thundering across gravel roads.

Mr. Allen, 52 years old, originally thought to call his project "Sacred Ground." He planned to build an 80-foot statue of an Indian man and have tribal dances performed during dinner. He changed the name after hearing it might be disrespectful. "To them, I was a white man capitalizing on their culture," he says. "But my heart's in the right place."

In 1938, J.C. "Pappy" Hoel, a Sturgis motorcycle enthusiast and businessman, started the Black Hills Motor Classic. Even then, some citizens worried about an invasion of out-of-town bikers.

Today, bikers from around the world nearly double South Dakota's population of 775,900. Although the rally officially lasts one week and this year's doesn't start until Aug. 7, bikers already have started arriving. Much of the year, most of downtown Sturgis is shuttered -- except for the weeks just before the rally, when building owners rent their space to vendors, who leave again after the rally.

Mr. Allen's infatuation with motorcycles began at age 12, when he was hit by one. He used money from the accident settlement to buy a 1959 Harley Davidson Sportster. He came to Sturgis in 1986 to sell deerskin gloves during the rally. Seven years later, he bought his favorite bar, the Broken Spoke, and began opening bars in Daytona Beach, Fla., and other biker Meccas.

Last year, he says, he paid a rancher a little over $1 million for the 600 acres where he's building Sturgis County Line. The development will include a campground and a 150,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot for semi-tractor trailers and RVs. Only the barn will be open for this year's rally.

Tall and lean, in a tie-dyed T-shirt and shaggy brown hair, Mr. Allen one recent day surveyed workers building the barn. Gazing at the amphitheater facing the butte, which will hold up to 40,000 for sunset concerts, he says, "You're not going to see nothing but God." Not far away, local businessman Gary Lippold is building a rival concert venue; he didn't return calls seeking comment.

American Indians have stopped developments near Bear Butte before. A few years ago, they joined environmentalists to block plans for a shooting range, using scientific tests to show that gunshots would disrupt the butte's tranquility.

Before she moved to the Sturgis area three years ago, Ms. White Hat had worked as an activist for indigenous people in South Africa, Cuba and Washington, D.C. She lives with her husband and three small children in a house near the base of the butte, where several tribes have bought land in the hope of blunting development.

After hearing about Mr. Allen's project, Ms. White Hat met with him at the Broken Spoke. Sitting inside the cavernous tavern, surrounded by Mr. Allen's motorcycle collection, she says she explained how more Indians are coming back to the butte to pray as they seek to reconnect with their heritage. Mr. Allen agreed to change the name from Sacred Ground.

She was at a local tire shop last fall when she began chatting with Jessie Levin, a white Sturgis native who with her husband owns a 16,000-acre cattle ranch within view of the butte. Ms. Levin said, "Do you think they're really going to put that bar up there by the butte?"

Soon Ms. Levin was hosting strategy sessions at her home for ranchers, Native Americans and Christians. Ms. White Hat tapped into her network of activists, who created a Web site and wrote to local newspapers criticizing Messrs. Allen and Lippold's projects. Other anti-development groups stepped in. In February, a bill that would have banned alcohol sales within four miles of the butte died before reaching South Dakota's full legislature.

In April, the board of commissioners of Meade County -- of which Sturgis is the seat -- opened hearings about Mr. Allen's application for a malt liquor license, which costs $250 a year. Debate on Mr. Lippold's application for a full liquor license, which requires an initial $500,000 fee and renews for $1,500 a year, started in May.

At a string of county hearings, debate centered on private property rights and the rally's effects on the locale. Meade County has no zoning regulations, and ranchers tend to be staunch supporters of property rights. Yet the county spends as much as $200,000 each year hiring police officers for the rally. It also pays to care for revelers jailed for public drunkenness, drug use and other infractions.

While Sturgis has recently turned a small profit, local officials say most rally money winds up out of town. "What we have here is a carpetbagger industry," says Marvin Kammerer, a cattle rancher who with Ms. White Hat and others spoke out against the new projects before the commission. Mr. Allen says he told the commissioners, "I have a respect for the people [American Indians], but I have a right to do what I'm doing."

Mr. Allen's license was awarded in April, and Mr. Lippold's in May. Ms. White Hat says commissioners were insensitive to their concerns and refused to hear testimony from all the activists.

Commissioner Dean Wink, a Republican cattle rancher, says he listened hard. "There will be some nights that will be noisy, but that's not going to deny them the ability to worship," he says. Landowners have a right to create a business "and that includes having a beer license." Richard Fisher, a retired area pastor who opposes the projects, says, "I doubt the county commissioners would issue similar licenses next to any of the Christian churches."

The opponents solicited petitions to force commissioners to hold a countywide vote on the licenses. They collected enough signatures on Mr. Allen's license, but not Mr. Lippold's. After commissioners nevertheless refused to call a referendum, opponents asked a county judge to order them to do so. Last week, the judge declined.

The opponents say they'll appeal. They're also planning pre-rally protests and lobbying musicians to boycott. And Ms. White Hat has declared herself a candidate for county commissioner. If elected, she says, she would be the first Native American, and woman, on the panel.

Mr. Allen says he's lining up musical acts. He plans to be the main announcer at the concerts; on the sidelines, there will be topless contests and tattooing. "I'm not doing anything to degrade a mountain," he says. "I'm not backing down."
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:54 PM   #10
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OK'd beer license fuels Bear Butte protester's resolve

OK'd beer license fuels Bear Butte protester's resolve
by James Falcon
The American Chronicle - 14 July 2006
http://www.americanchronicle.com/art...rticleID=11495

STURGIS, SD — About 20 to 30 men, women and children sit in a small wooded camp at the base of Bear Butte. For the next month, they will be residents of a tightly-knit community on Coyote Lane, seven miles northeast of Sturgis.

“It definitely isn’t a demonstration,” Margie Loud Hawk, a temporary Bear Butte resident from Kyle, said. “(It’s) a gathering.”

They say that, through this gathering, they are showing their active opposition of business encroachment near Bear Butte, especially campgrounds with beer licenses.

Bear Butte, a state park, is also seen as a church, a place of worship, to many. The cultural significance crosses the line between intertribal differences. Both the Lakota and the Cheyenne look at the mountain as being the centerpiece for religion, an altar to the Creator. It is a place to pray, fast and learn about the spiritual history of the indigenous peoples.

However, this serenity will disappear next month.

The Free Spirit Campground, a modest-sized campground covering 43 acres, is near the northwest base of Bear Butte. For $80 a week (or $210 per week, plus $80 per person, for RV campers), campers can set up base here. Before and during the Aug. 7-13 Sturgis motorcycle rally, motorcyclists will be among those camping at the usually peaceful butte base.

Meade County commissioners on Friday approved a beer license for the campground, as well as for the Ride & Rest Campground, a new campground scheduled to open more than 2 miles south of Bear Butte. But local and some nationwide traditionalists believe that beer, bikers and sacred sites simply don’t mix.

Ulysses Riley of Gillette, Wyo., the owner and senior partner of the Free Spirit Campground, doesn’t see a problem.

“It’s the Sturgis rally, and I don’t think it’s going to go away,” Riley said of his motorcycle-riding clientele.

“It’s been a campground for many years,” Riley said.

He was told by the previous owner that it was a relatively quiet campground. Riley bought the campground through the Internet auction site eBay.

“I don’t mean anybody any harm.” he said, adding that the situation could be worse. ”The Hells Angels, Bandidos, the Aryan Nation or the Nazis could have bought it. It would be a lot worse than it is. I just want to do our campground.”

He also said that he went to the education center at Bear Butte State Park to learn about the history of Bear Butte.

“I understand where they’re coming from … as much as I can from my perspective,” Riley said.

The approval of the two beer licenses came at an early time in the demonstration, which began July 4.

“Why do we have to beg?” demonstrator Bob Black Tail said in regard to protecting Bear Butte. “They (county commissioners) enjoy their role as oppressors immensely. They could care less about our spirituality.”

“We knew we didn’t have a chance,” Free Man, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma, said in regards to fighting the licenses. Free Man said he believes that economics seem to overrule the culture of the Lakota or the culture of American Indians in general. “Look at all of those bars down there (in town),” Free Man added. “We only have one mountain.”

There are several bars in Sturgis, plus grocery stores and convenience markets that sell beer.

On a hill not far from the Bear Butte turnoff is the Iron House. “Welcome bikers,” a banner reads on the outside of the store. The Iron Horse is one of four establishments with beer or liquor licenses within a 5-mile radius of Bear Butte.

Among them are two Indian groups that also opposed at Meade County Commission hearings: the new Broken Spoke Saloon and Sturgis County Line Campground 2 miles north of Bear Butte, and the Glencoe CampResort, 3 miles south of Bear Butte, which has added a concert venue called Rock’n The Rally. Both were granted full liquor licenses this year.

“There’s plenty of room on the other side of Sturgis,” Ahmbaska Camp of Pine Ridge said. “There’s no need to develop here.”

Camp said that a 5-mile wide buffer zone should be put in place for the sacred site.

“It’s not too much to ask for,” he said.

Camp’s father, Carter Camp, serves as the spokesman for the group at the camp. Camp said that the group plans to march and demonstrate in Sturgis.

“We intend to execute our constitutional rights,” Camp said.

Camp said that there was a sizeable turnout for the initial start of the demonstration on July 4. “We had a really good meeting,” Camp said.

“This is a peaceful demonstration,” his son, Ahmbaska, said. “They’re trying to make us out as militant, but there’s women and children here.”

The land on which the demonstrators are camped is on the southern base of the butte. This land was bought by the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe. It is also a neighbor of the Free Spirit Campground.

“Meade County commissioners made their mistake again,” Camp said of the meeting Friday morning in Sturgis.

Camp estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 bikers will be present in the area.

“You can just picture 2,000 bikers at the bottom of the butte while we’re praying up there,” Chat Bobtail Bear said. Bobtail Bear is a member of the security team that takes care of the camp and its members.

Members of the group say that with each day that passes, there is less time for them to help preserve the heritage and history of Bear Butte.

“It’s good that we’re doing it here, now, and not five, 10 years down the road when there’s development,” Margie Loud Hawk of Kyle said, suggesting that nipping the development in the bud is a better tactic. She sat in a fold-out chair, swatting at an occasional fly. She was surrounded by the women and children of the group, all of whom endured the heat and flies together.

“Some people want to make it Indians against bikers,” Loud Hawk’s sister, Pam Afraid of Hawk, said.

Afraid of Hawk also believes that children should get involved with the struggle.

“Our children need to know these things,” she said. Meanwhile, her children and grandchildren either sat with the women or were playing nearby.

The demonstration will come to a head during the week of July 30. From Aug. 1-4, a Summit of Nations will be held. According to Camp, members from Canada, Guatemala and Venezuela — which are countries with indigenous peoples — were invited and plan to attend. During the summit, treaties will be made, Camp said. He said that he wants these treaties to be recognized by the United Nations.

This year’s Sturgis motorcycle rally will mark the end of the traditional encampment.
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Old 07-16-2006, 12:32 PM   #11
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This man has no respect for the Mountain nor for the People who hold it sacred. But because he has the government behind him, he is "within his rights" and will exercise them.
How many times have we heard this before? Deja vu all over again.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:40 PM   #12
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If you would like information on...

1. How You Can Help to Defend Bear Butte

2. How You Can Help the Bear Butte Encampment

3. Defend Bear Butte Awareness Products

Go to: http://www.defendbearbutte.org/how_to_help.htm
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:36 PM   #13
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I have passed this story to a couple of "biker" boards, asking people to avoid this venue and the Mountain. The response has been totally supportive.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
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Should you want to make your opinions on Bear Butte known to the Bikers going to Sturgis Rally, may I recommend going to:
http://www.sturgis.com/messageboard/index.php
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:34 PM   #15
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Bear Butte protesters plead for rights
By James C. Falcon, Journal Staff Writer
Rapid City Journal - 22 July 2006
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...cal/news02.txt

STURGIS, SD — The creation of a five-mile buffer zone around Bear Butte would help protect the religious freedoms of indigenous people, organizers of "Bring Back the Way" said Thursday morning.

At a news conference at the Bear Butte encampment, members of the organization known as Bring Back the Way said they oppose construction of the Sturgis County Line biker bar near Bear Butte.

They and other groups have opposed the granting by the Meade County Commission of beer and liquor licenses for rally venues near Bear Butte, which is considered sacred by several American Indian tribes.

Present at the group’s news conference were Debra White Plume, director for Bring Back the Way; Alex White Plume, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe; Floyd Hand, an Oglala Sioux spiritual leader and delegate to the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty Committee; and Carter Camp, spokesman for the Inter-Tribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte.

“For our people, He Sapa (the Black Hills) is the heart of everything that is,” Alex White Plume said in a prepared statement. “We are here to ask that others respect our way of life and our basic human rights; to be able to pray undisturbed in our sacred places like Bear Butte.”

White Plume is also a member of Bring Back the Way.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council last year passed a resolution that it “would do anything and everything to enact a buffer zone around Bear Butte,” Debra White Plume said.

Alex White Plume said rally-related construction violates the human rights of Indian people.

As construction crews work on the Sturgis County Line, small structures are appearing on the hillsides a few miles from Bear Butte. A water tank, with a capacity of 150,000 gallons, can be seen on the hillside. This tank is one structure that is part of Jay Allen’s Sturgis County Line, which he touts as being “the world’s largest biker bar.”

Bring Back the Way officials and the other opposition groups say the rally-related activities will be disruptive to prayers and other ceremonies that Indians conduct on Bear Butte.

So far, the Meade County Commission has granted liquor licenses to several area establishments, including Free Spirit Campground, Sturgis County Line and The Ride & Rest Campground. These establishments are within the proposed five-mile buffer zone of Bear Butte.

Ken Chleborad, the deputy state’s attorney for Meade County, said he was unable to comment on the idea of a buffer zone, except for noting that “nothing has been brought in front of the commissioners specifically regarding the buffer zone.”

The expected alcohol sales, construction and loud music during religious ceremonies would be “not only disrespectful, it is a violation of our right to conduct our spiritual practices with dignity,” Alex White Plume said. “We don’t need a biker bar like that here. It is not right to sacrifice the spiritual beliefs and way of life of indigenous people so that a handful of businesses can make money.”

Bring Back the Way also outlined upcoming events in its campaign against the rally activities, including a summit meeting and at least three marches.

On Sunday, July 30, members of the visiting Christian Peacemakers will “count the steps” from the Sturgis County Line construction site to Bear Butte. From this, they will measure the distance between the two points.

From Aug. 1-4, Bring Back the Way will host the Summit of Indigenous Nations, which will hold a forum on alleged breaches of indigenous religion in North America, Latin America and South America and ways to resolve these problems.

On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5-6, the groups plan to march from Bear Butte to downtown Sturgis. The Sturgis rally begins Monday, Aug. 7th.
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Old 07-30-2006, 02:48 PM   #16
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American Indians Protest Bar Development
By Carson Walker, Associated Press Writer
The Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; 4:34 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...072700157.html

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) -- American Indian tribes trying to protect their sacred Bear Butte have purchased land around the Black Hills historic site to keep it out of the hands of developers eager to serve bikers who roar into town every year for a raucous road rally.

According to Meade County records, three tribes have spent $1.3 million over the last two decades to buy 2.6 square miles of land around usually serene Bear Butte, where colorful prayer flags line a hiking trail and Indians have come for centuries to fast and hold ceremonies.

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.

Despite the land purchase by tribes, the Meade County Commission has approved several alcohol licenses for sites near the butte. Commissioners have said they have no basis to deny alcohol licenses and people have the right to use their land as they see fit.

"The Legislature gives us the power to issue the permits based on character and location," said Commissioner Curtis Nupen. "We have those two factors to take into account."

Character can be an issue if an establishment regularly has run-ins with the law; location concerns include proximity to churches and places where children gather, Nupen said.

With the increasing demand for land near Sturgis for businesses that cater to bikers, it's getting too expensive for even the richest of tribes to buy land and leave it idle, Whipple said.

"Agriculturally, you couldn't buy a piece of land up there and make it pay," he said. "Unless you're going to develop it or make money off the beer sales and the rally, you're spending a lot of money for not much return."

Indians have gathered at Bear Butte this summer ahead of the rally to protest development, likening the mountain to a church.

Alex White Plume, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, helped organize a camp near the butte's base designed to draw tribal members and leaders to a Gathering of Nations Treaty Summit in the days before the rally. Indians also plan to march from Bear Butte to the Meade County Courthouse in Sturgis during the rally.

All events will be peaceful, organizers said. They hope to persuade some bikers to voluntarily stay away from commercial sites east of Sturgis.

"We're here to defend our sacred site," Plume said. "We have to learn to get along, but we also have to have mutual respect for each other and that's not happening today."
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Old 08-02-2006, 08:51 AM   #17
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Indigenous-rights groups join Bear Butte summit
By James C. Falcon, Journal Staff Writer
Rapid City Journal - 2 August 2006
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...cal/news05.txt

STURGIS, SD -- Twelve indigenous-rights groups joined the encampment already in place at Bear Butte on Tuesday for a four-day summit and discussion on indigenous rights.

The stated purpose of the Summit of Indigenous Nations, hosted by the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, was to allow the groups to meet, discuss what they say are the breaches of indigenous rights they are encountering in their respective regions, and find a way to consolidate their solutions into one treaty.

The treaty will be signed on Thursday and sent to the United Nations.

The first day of the summit coincides with the one-month anniversary of the beginning of the encampment at Bear Butte to protest the presence of nearby campgrounds and bars to host people attending the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Carter Camp, Inter-Tribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte, believes that sacred places of indigenous peoples have been abused and that lands have been misused. The taking away of sacred lands is a way of termination for the Indian, Camp said.

"We have to do something to keep them from destroying it." Camp said.

Carrie Dann, an elder from the Western Shoshone tribal nation, represented the Western Shoshone Defense Project, which is seeking the return of treaty land in Nevada's Ruby Valley, land that originally belonged to the Shoshone.

"When you come here, I want you to show respect ... for people that have been here." Dann said. "This is our homeland."

Floyd Westerman, an Oglala Lakota activist and actor, acknowledged participants in the 1973 American Indian Movement occupation of Wounded Knee. Four summit participants were at Wounded Knee.

"Up until then, we had no recognition or voice." Westerman said. "The Indian point of view is missing. That's what's wrong in this country."

Westerman also reiterated an opinion made by many camp members: that under normal circumstances, a bar would not be built next to a church.

"This is the center of all man," Westerman said as he looked over his shoulder at Bear Butte. "The silence of the mountain is the voice of the Creator."

The week began with a march on Sunday, organized by the Christian Peacemakers Team.

According to Jill Foster of Montreal, "100 - exactly" people from several local Christian and non-Christian denominations joined the Christian Peacemaker Teams in walking from the "farthest edge" of Jay Allen's property to the base of the butte. Allen had said that his bar, the Sturgis County Line, is four miles from the mountain.

However, organizer Debra White Plume said walkers used a pedometer and measured the distance between the two at 12,700 feet, slightly more than 2 miles

The summit will also include drafting of the treaty on Wednesday, an honoring ceremony Thursday, and a march from Bear Butte to Sturgis City Hall on Friday.
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:50 PM   #18
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here is a link to to see Pictures of Gathering of Nations at Bear Butte

http://www.ndnnews.com/Bear%20Butte.htm

some of the pictures are of Horse riders, these folks rode all the way from MN thru Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, the Black Hills then to Bear Butte. It was a months horse ride to bring awareness to our sacred sites. Most of the riders were young adults.
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Old 08-04-2006, 08:51 AM   #19
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Indigenous summit at Bear Butte asks Pope for help
By Journal Staff
Rapid City Journal - 4 August 2006
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...cal/news01.txt

BEAR BUTTE, SD — Tribal leaders and indigenous rights groups will ask the pope to rescind a 1493 Vatican document which they believe paved the legal road for Europeans to take land from indigenous American people.

Twenty-three organizations and 100 individuals signed a resolution Thursday at the Summit of Indigenous Nations at Bear Butte. The resolution, which will be sent to the Vatican for review, targets the Papal Bull Inter Caetera of 1493, in which Vatican officials urged Christopher Columbus to convert indigenous Americans to Catholicism.

“We command you in virtue of holy obedience that, employing all due diligence in the premises, … you should appoint to the aforesaid mainlands and islands worthy, God-fearing, learned, skilled and experienced men, in order to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and residents in the Catholic faith and train them in good morals,” reads the 1493 document.

“This is going to be history in the making,” Vic Camp announced before the resolution and a separate treaty amongst summit participants were signed.

The resolution equally targets the Queen of England and asks her to rescind a 1496 Royal Charter.

“It is with much honor that I put my hand on this instrument,” Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement said as he signed the resolution. “It’s at least part of a solution. It’s step one ... to pass this moment on to the next generation so they bear witness and we begin a new day.”

Oglala traditional chief Oliver Red Cloud was the first to sign Thursday afternoon, followed by Floyd Hand, an Oglala elder and treaty delegate, and then the various indigenous entities.

Debra White Plume of Bring Back the Way, one of the summit organizers, said she experienced trauma attending Catholic boarding schools.

“I’m really proud to see (everyone) stand up against the people that said we weren’t human,” White Plume said. “We want our spiritual identity left alone.”

The resolution states that the 1493 Vatican document and the 1496 Royal Charter “represent principles of religious intolerance in its moral and legal implications” and served as a “doctrine of discovery,” a legal foundation for the “extinguishment of aboriginal title to Indian lands in the United States.”

“The doctrine of discovery established a legal paradigm that has caused crusades in the name of Christianity and great harm and injury to Indigenous Peoples throughout the centuries, including the members of Indigenous Nations gathered at this Summit,” reads a section of the resolution.

In addition, the Mato Paha Treaty of 2006 was signed Thursday. That document will be forwarded to the United Nations. It recognizes a union among the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, the Northern Arapaho Nation, the Northern Cheyenne Nation, the Ponca Nation and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador.

Through this treaty, the five entities established peaceful relations among themselves “to maintain an effective and lasting peace” and other goodwill stances, including trade, support and defense.

According to Debra White Plume, the treaty will be sent to the United Nations in about one month. Bring Back the Way will take the lead and send in the treaty. However, the group “needs to package it appropriately,” White Plume said. Attorneys will draft a cover letter before the treaty is sent. The group expects the U.N. to keep the document on file but expects no further action.

****************************************

Bear Butte protest slated
By Katie Brown, Journal Staff Writer
Rapid City Journal - 4 August 2006
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...cal/news02.txt

STURGIS, SD — In an attempt to avoid problems with protest marches combining with Sturgis motorcycle rally traffic, law enforcement agencies will assist American Indian groups in marching and demonstrating today in Sturgis.

“They have assured us that if we help them pull off this demonstration, they won’t do much else during the rally,” Sturgis Police Chief Jim Bush said Thursday.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol, Sturgis Police Department and Meade County Sheriff’s Office met Wednesday with protesters to plan the march.

The march is part of a monthlong gathering at Bear Butte, north of Sturgis, in which Indian groups and individuals are raising objections to what they consider encroachment by biker bars and campgrounds on Bear Butte, which is a religious area to indigenous people.

Protest organizers said a prayer service will begin at 11 a.m. today at Bear Butte. After that, demonstrators will drive to Sturgis, where a protest will take place at the corner of Fourth and Main streets. That demonstration will last three or four hours, organizers said.

Protesters will then drive to the intersection of South Dakota Highways 34 and 79 and march north to their camp at Bear Butte.

No roads will be closed during the march, but South Dakota Highway Patrol officials are asking motorists to be cautious.

“The group has agreed to stay to the shoulder of the road as much as possible and to finish up their march before dark,” Maj. James Carpenter of the Patrol said. “Our main concern here is safety. We want motorists to be aware of the people who will be on the road, and we ask that everyone treats each other with respect.”

The march is organized by Bring Back the Way, the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council.

Bring Back the Way leader Debra White Plume said several Christian groups from throughout the state will also march in support of the Indians.

Mashanaposhe Camp, head of security for the protesters’ camp at Bear Butte, said there is no way to know how many people will be involved in the march but that he hopes for hundreds, maybe thousands.

“We’ve gotten so much support from out of state and throughout South Dakota,” Camp said. “A lot of local support, too.”

He said area law enforcement agencies have been cooperative in planning the march. White Plume agreed and said the groups are willing to work with local law enforcement for future marches.

She said the purpose of the protest and march is to raise awareness about Indians who view Bear Butte as a religious site. She said the growth of rally venues around Bear Butte creates noise that disturbs the religious act of “hanbleceya,” the Lakota word for “vision quest.”

“We mainly want to get the message out there that we feel we have a right to pray and have integrity for our mountain and our spiritual way of life,” White Plume said.

Today marks the last day of the Summit of Indigenous Nations, which began Tuesday at Bear Butte.
__________________

"Be good, be kind, help each other."
"Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

--Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)
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