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Gathering at Bear Butte

Gathering at Bear Butte

by Charmaine White Face
In any effort to preserve and protect places that have been, and continue to be, sacred to Indigenous peoples, the ultimate action of respect must always be considered. This has been and is one of the guiding principles for Defenders of the Black Hills in all projects that are undertaken.

Many people have asked if Defenders of the Black Hills will be participating in the Gathering that is scheduled to begin July 4 at Bear Butte and continue through the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. After attending many prayer ceremonies starting last fall, 2005, and consulting with both spiritual leaders and elders, we have been advised NOT to attend.

In order to continue to uphold the traditions of the Tetuwan (Lakota) people, and other Native American nations that pray and hold ceremonies at Bear Butte, and to adhere to our organization's own principle of respect for sacred places, Defenders of the Black Hills will NOT be participating in the upcoming Gathering scheduled to begin July 4, 2006.

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