Home Campaigns Bear Butte Report on the Bear Butte Wopila (thank you) Ceremony

Report on the Bear Butte Wopila (thank you) Ceremony

Report on the Bear Butte Wopila (thank you) Ceremony

by Charmaine White Face
February 28, 2004

Round danceOn Sat., Feb. 28, 2004, a prayer in gratitude for all the help that was given to stop the proposed shooting range from being built near sacred Bear Butte was held on the southern slope of the mountain. Approximately 200 people were in attendance.

The prayers began with Mr. Grass Rope. Singers from the previous year's prayer gathering, Mitchell Wisecarver and his sons, sang a sacred song, then prayers were given by Dennis White Shield who also led the prayers in Feb. 2003. Also returning to sing was Pansy Hawk Wing. She was followed by John Walking Bear, Southern Cheyenne. William O'Brien also spoke about the efforts they undertook to stop the shooting project from happening in Alkali, WY.

Steve Brady, speaking on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Crazy Dog Society, presented gifts to Charmaine and the attorney, Jim Leach. He said a prayer and they sang a song. The ceremony ended with a Lakota thank you song while all participants shook hands with Jim and Charmaine.

The prayer ceremony was followed with a feast in the Sturgis High School gymnasium attended by 300-400 people. Pansy Hawk Wing said the prayer for the meal. Harvey White Woman did a great job as Eyapaha (master of ceremonies). Thanks also to Meade School district for reducing the fee for use of the east gym by half.

Sturgis Mayor Mark Ziegler and Chair of the Sturgis City Council, Sherry Scudder, attended both the prayers and the feed. The mayor gave a few brief remarks. Two beautiful sheet cakes, one with the Defenders logo, the other with the Defenders Bear Butte picture were donated by the Lower Brule Treaty office.

Upon completion of the meal, thank you gifts were given to:

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Preservation Office: Jim Picotte, Jaimie Ducheneaux, Carl Dupris

Man who said prayers at last year's prayer gathering: Dennis White Shield

Woman who said prayers at last year's prayer gathering: Pansy Hawk Wing

Singers at last year's prayer gathering: Kyle Wisecarver, Koltin Wisecarver, Lante Wisecarver, and their father, Mitchell Wisecarver

Attorney: Jim Leach

Fund Raiser for the Legal Expenses: Mark Tilson

Webmaster: Nick Tilson

Information Researcher: Chas Jewitt

For his continual protection and care beyond his job description: Jim Jandreau

Co-Defendants in the CDBG Case: June Iron Hawk, Merle Whistler, Lorraine Whistler, Winona Whistler, Theda Staley, Tommy Staley, and Sara Fire

Co-Defendants in the Religious Use Case: Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Southern Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Special Recognition: Brian Brademeyer, Treasurer, and Nancy Kile, Secretary

Closing Remarks: Marie Randall

Bear Butte Ink Drawing on the blankets: Luther White Eagle

The blankets were provided by Charmaine White Face according to Lakota custom. The patches sewed on the blankets were provided by the Defenders. Marie Randall, Oglala Lakota elder, gave the final remarks and the closing prayer. The Crazy Horse singers provided the honor songs. The ceremony closed with a round dance.

The results from the raffle drawing:

* Bonnie Hayford, Spearfish - won the star quilt donated by Janice Bad Horse Larson & Marie Sexton, Lower Brule Treaty Office

* Ken Curley, Eagle Butte - won the painted buffalo skull donated by Corbin Conroy

* Crazy Dog Society/Otto Braided Hair, Lame Deer, MT - won the ledger art donated by Gus Yellow Hair

* Tom Hample, Ft. Yates, ND - won the 1800s iron point arrow donated by Jay Red Hawk

* Scott Kile, Sturgis - won the espresso coffee beans donated by Jay Red Hawk

* unnamed woman - won the decaf coffee beans donated by Jay Red Hawk

Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests