|Bars, Mufflers, Strobe Lights, Helicopters and Sacred Sites?|
Greetings to all my relations,
I am writing to you today to alert you to the escalating commercial desecration of land held sacred by many of the Plains American Indian Nations, Bear Butte. The Blatant disregard for the spiritual beliefs and ceremonies of Native People and the sacredness of this mountain is evidenced by the increased presence of bars, clubs, strobe lights over the mountain, campgrounds that sell alcohol, concerts and now helicopter rides.
A brief background:
Bear Butte is a sacred site located in the Black Hills, just eight miles east of Sturgis, South Dakota. Bear Butte has four National designations, a registered National Historical Landmark, National Historical Places, National Natural Landmark, and a Registered National Trail. Bear Butte is held sacred by 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, motorcycle noise, flashing strobe lights over the mountain, and intoxicated campers nearby.
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 was to have a 50,000 seat concert stadium and a RV park, in addition to the newly built “worlds largest biker 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 movement to stop further commercial development, 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 he entered into a new partnership with Target Logistics Corporation, a multi-million dollar company from Boston, MA. In addition to this new partnership, they announced their plans to open year round, which will be starting next summer. Biker rally events will be ongoing throughout the summer, instead of just during bike week. With this new expansion it will virtually become impossible ALL summer, to pray in peace at Bear Butte. They have also, changed the name of the venue to Broken Spoke Campground, LLC.
The new partners have already proceeded in their expansions of Broken Spoke Campground. They have biker venues already scheduled in July 2008. They have added more RV spaces, the world’s largest biker pool, concerts will now be held EVERY night during the rally, and the most horrific addition is their recent attempt to offer helicopter rides OVER BEAR BUTTE during the rally! This is a blatant disregard and a violation of, the Native American Freedom of Religion Act. To have helicopters flying over people while they are in ceremony constitutes as harassment. The FAA flight regulations are 500 to 1000 feet above ground, depending on if the area is sparsely populated or not. We have been working diligently on STOPPING these helicopter rides. A complaint with the FAA, has been filed, they are investigating the issue. They appear to be very supportive of our concerns and are in agreement helicopters have no business flying over Bear Butte. We also are working directly with State Parks and National Park Service on this issue. A decision and final outcome will be forthcoming within the next couple weeks, or potentially sooner.
Please visit our website and blog for updates and new information. 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! We are looking for dedicated people to assist and join our efforts, please contact us for details!
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation is a grass roots organization, working towards the protection of sacred sites across the country. Our organization has been actively involved with the ongoing struggle to Protect Bear Butte for several years. We are continuing these efforts, our organization is currently leading the campaign regarding the new developments and further expansions at Bear Butte. Please visit us at www.ProtectSacredSites.org We have a dedicated website specifically for the Bear Butte struggle at www.ProtectBearButte.com.