South Dakota: Protecting Bear Butte

 

From July 3 - August 15, CPT will place a small team at Bear Butte, South Dakota at the invitation of an Intertribal Coalition involving 30 local tribes. The coalition, which includes all of the Lakota tribes with whom CPT worked at La Framboise Island in Pierre, SD in 1999, has organized a six-week encampment to nonviolently resist continued development and encroachment on this sacred territory.

Located near Sturgis, SD, Bear Butte is a Native sacred site in the Black Hills. Every year thousands of Native people travel to pray at Bear Butte.

The final week of the encampment, August 7-13, will coincide with the 66th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally which brings 500,000 bikers to the area, creating an enormous impact on the surrounding economy and ecosystem.

Recently, Arizona entrepreneur Jay Allen broke ground for a massive new biker bar and concert venue called the “Sturgis County Line” to be located on 600 acres at the base of Bear Butte.

Tribal groups strongly opposed to this development are organizing a campaign of nonviolent direct action to stop it from proceeding. They have asked CPT to assist with planning actions and to be on hand to help reduce tensions and document abuses if violence is threatened.