Bear Butte - near Sturegis, SD
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 44° 27.577 W 103° 25.942
13T E 624709 N 4924118
Quick Description: Sacred site to Native Americans, but playground for the non-indigenous people and the lack of respect has caused issues.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 7/20/2014 6:23:59 AM
Waymark Code: WMM4FX
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 1

Long Description:

County of site: Meade County
Location of site:
Also know as (AKA): Mato Paha; Nowahavose
Was made a State Park in 1961

Text of marker located on 206th St. (SD 79/SD 34) Sturgis:

Cheyenne: (Nowahawste)   Mountain of the Plains Indian   Sioux: (Mato Paha)
The 1,422 foot high volcanic bubble rises 1,200 feet above the plains, a guide for centuries for Indians, fur traders, soldiers, cowboys, and travelers. It was visited or passed by Verendrye, 1743; Lt. G. t> Warren, 1855; Hayden, the scientist and Reynolds, 1859; Custer, 1874; and since by a galaxy of geological scientists.

This was a sacred mountain for the Cheyenne, the first Indians known to white man to live adjacent to it and here Sweet Medicine, their spiritual leader received the four sacred Cheyenne Arrows and the code of ethics many centuries ago. Many a prayer has been said on its rugged slopes and many a smoke signal from its lofty summit has told watching eyes of travelers on Bismarck - Deadwood Trail to its porto and other sojourners within its vista.

Near here, in 1857, a great council of the Indians determined to hold the Black Hills inviolate from the white man and for two decades and this policy dictated their defensive actions.

Custer's annihilation at the Little Big Horn in 1876; the establishment of Camp Sturgis, July 1, 1878 on its Northwest slope spelled the passing of the red man and his brother the buffalo. Today Bear Butte stands, an outpost of the Hills, still a shrine to the Cheyenne, who come here to worship and a monument to man made history and to natures weird handiwork.

Visited this site several times in 2003, 2006, 2007.
This mountain is in the middle of a state park, and is often the middle of controversy, because it is a Holy Site to Native Americans, and yet made a State Park by the white eyes.

"Bear Butte is a geological butte feature located near Sturgis South Dakota, United States, that was established as a State Park in 1961. An important landmark and religious site for the Plains Indians tribes long before Europeans reached South Dakota, Bear Butte is called Mathó Pahá, or Bear Mountain, by the Lakota, or Sioux. To the Cheyenne, it is known as Noahà-vose ("giving hill") or Náhkòhe-vose ("bear hill"), and is the place where Ma'heo'o (God) imparted to Sweet Medicine, a Cheyenne prophet, the knowledge from which the Cheyenne derive their religious, political, social, and economic customs. The mountain is sacred to many indigenous peoples, who make pilgrimages to leave prayer cloths and tobacco bundles tied to the branches of the trees along the mountain’s flanks. Other offerings are often left at the top of the mountain. The site is associated with various religious ceremonies throughout the year. The mountain is a place of prayer, meditation, and peace."

"Human artifacts have been found on or near Bear Butte that date back 10,000 years, indicating a long and continuous interest in the mountain.The Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual interest in Bear Butte from their earliest recorded history.

"Notable visitors like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull made pilgrimages to the site. In 1857, a council of many Indian nations gathered at Bear Butte to discuss the growing presence of white settlers in the Black Hills.

"Violating a treaty of 1868, George Armstrong Custer led an expedition to the Black Hills region in 1874, and according to custom he camped near Bear Butte. Custer verified the rumors of gold in the Black Hills, and Bear Butte then served as an easily identifiable landmark for the rush of invading prospectors and settlers into the region. Indian reaction to the illegal movements of whites into the area was intense and hostile. Ultimately the government reneged on its treaty obligations regarding the Black Hills and instead embarked on a program to confine all northern Plains tribes to reservations.

"Ezra Bovee homesteaded on the southern slopes of the mountain, and by the time of World War II, he and his family were the legal owners of the site. In the spring of 1945, the Northern Cheyenne received permission from Bovee to hold a ceremony at Bear Butte to pray for the end of World War II. The Cheyenne found that the Bovee family welcomed their interest in the mountain, and over the years the Bovees continued to encourage native religious ceremonies.

"By the mid-1950s Ezra Bovee was attempting to stir up interest in making Bear Butte a national park. After his death, his family continued the effort. When federal interest in the project waned, the state government in Pierre took action, and Bear Butte became a state park in 1961 and was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

"Frank Fools Crow, the Lakota ceremonial chief (d. 1989), made pilgrimages to Bear Butte throughout his lifetime. Fools Crow taught racial harmony not just between whites and Indians, but among all the peoples of the world. He believed the Lakota should never sell the Black Hills. A bust and plaque in front of the education center at Bear Butte State Park honor Fools Crow’s efforts." ~ Wikipedia

Location above is for the site, the marker location is: N 44° 24.981 W 103° 26.466
Relevant Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and a brief account of your visit including any relevant observations and experiences. New photos are highly encouraged to show additional features or views, but not mandatory. Add any new information that you may have from your personal experience or research.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Religious Freedom
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
12IrishGlaciers visited Bear Butte - near Sturegis, SD 7/25/2014 12IrishGlaciers visited it