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Native American Sacred Sites

Bear Butte:

On my recent trip west I visited several sites sacred to the Native American tribes. Bear Butte was breath-taking to look at even from a distance. I came to this place on May 1, and even though the park was not yet officially open, I was able to drive through it as well as get out and enjoy the view (I heeded the warnings to stay away from the buffalo.)


Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this place: Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to Bear Butte State Park. It is located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis off SD Hwy. 79.

Site for Visions and Prayers from Creator:

The mountain is sacred to many American Indian tribes, especially the Cheyenne and Lakota people, who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Mato Paha is seen as a place where the Creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer. Notable leaders including Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull have all visited Bear Butte.


My June newsletter from St. Joseph’s Indian School reported that the eighth grade class also visited this site. The newsletter said, “They (Bear Butte and Black Elk Peak) are two important spots in the Lakota rite of HanbleceyaCrying for a Vision. Here students made prayer ties and offered prayers to the Great Spirit.”

I was glad to know that these young people were offered this opportunity. I was also honored to be able to step into the footsteps of so many important leaders of the tribes.


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