Saturday, April 26, 2008

Message to "Bikers for Bear Butte"

This letter is to all those well-meaning bikers who participate in the Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota, in August. We believe that the majority of you are not aware of the destruction the rally is causing to one of Indian peoples' most sacred sites, Bear Butte. Very few non-Indians know that for many centuries all the Tribes of the Great Plains worshipped and conducted sacred ceremonies at Bear Butte. It is a place for quiet prayers of thanksgiving and for seeking spiritual guidance with ancient ceremonies.

The spring and summer months through August, is when the Tribes travel to Bear Butte to conduct their annual ceremonies. These prayers and ceremonies do not stop simply because the rally has started. For the past few years there has been a continual encroachment of bars and venues heading towards the sacred mountain. Since the arrival of Sturgis County Line and other venues next to Bear Butte, traditional people are forced to pray with loud music from bars, mufflers and flashing strobe lights over the mountain, instead of praying in peace. In April 2008, Sturgis County Line announced they will be opening year-round and hosting many events throughout the summer. This will make it virtually impossible to pray in peace all summer long.

Most of you are probably unaware that returning Indian veterans of wars since before World War 1, have made their way to the sacred mountain to pray, fast and give thanks for their safe return. Most veterans wouldn't know that the Cheyenne Nation conducted ceremonies on Bear Butte during WW1, WW2, Korea and Viet Nam to insure the victory for American forces. Bear Butte is where our young men and women go to fast, to learn and to test themselves for adulthood. Bear Butte is where our holy men and women have gone to seek spiritual knowledge for as long as our tribal memories can see into the past. Even today in this new millennium, Bear Butte continues to be central to the spiritual and ceremonial lives of over thirty Indian Nations.

Indian people are becoming desperate to preserve even small portions of our once peaceful and remote, sacred places across America.

We ARE NOT trying to close or stop the Sturgis Bike Rally, or even interfere with all the various things that go on there. We are asking that the Federal, State and Local governments enact and enforce a buffer zone around Bear Butte, to restrict the sale of booze within the zone, make sure concerts and other extraneous noise, are kept away from the Mountain. To us that seems very minimal and reasonable, but our words have fallen on deaf ears once again and the county and state are allowing more and more destruction to happen--always closer to Bear Butte. It must be stopped.

It is now our hope that we can turn to the customers of the bike rally, the bikers themselves, to ask that they help us in our efforts. We ask all bikers to help us make attendees of the Sturgis Bike Rally, aware of our request and to help us encourage all the booze and concert venues too close to Bear Butte, to close down and move away. We are asking that all bikers boycott the "Broken Spoke Saloons" until they withdraw their bar away from Bear Butte!

We are asking that all "BIKERS FOR BEAR BUTTE" come together with Indian people to help us enact a buffer zone around Bear Butte and to help us inform all your brother and sister Bikers of the issue.

We pray there, we receive healing and learn our ancient ways of life there. We KNOW YOU respect Bear Butte and will stand by our side, in this struggle! We ask our biker brothers and sisters to help us PROTECT our SACRED MOUNTAIN.


• We would like to ask all Bikers for Bear Butte, to NOT patronize the “Sturgis County Line” Broken Spoke Campground, adjacent to Bear Butte!
• Help us spread the word throughout the biker community! Help us support a “buffer zone” around Bear Butte!
• Don’t ride 79! If you must, please be respectful and keep noise to a minimum, drive slowly while passing the area of Bear Butte.

For more information about our struggle, please visit us at or


Rilea said...


As one who prays at Bear Butte, who is a local resident and a biker I have and will continue to educate my guests (all year as well as during rally) as to the sacred aspects of this mountain and will continue to request they do not support Sturgis County Line, Broken Spoke, any venue connected with Jay Allen or that will encroach furhter upon Bear Butte. I also support legislation to provide a buffer zone around Bear Butte.


jan said...

For the third year in a row, Bikers USA at proudly supports the Bikers for Bear Butte project. I believe that part of this is spreading the word to my fellow bikers, and I encourage other bikers to do their share of spreading the word. Please do not spend any money at the businesses near Bear Butte, and also boycott other business ventures owned by those who are recklessly destroying the environment around Bear Butte. Honor your heritage, yes. Do not destroy the heritage and sacred grounds of the indigenous tribes. Spread the word to save Bear Butte and stop the destruction of the area. Thanks, jan

"Bodega" Bruce said...

As a white man who has a little Cherokee blood in my family tree, I respect those nations who were here before us.

As a biker, I want people to show me respect, and the best way to get respect is to give it. I've always wanted to visit Sturgis, and if I do I will respect those who come to Bear Butte for spiritual reasons, and I hope that all other bikers will hear of this and do the same.

As a Christian I know that many cities pass laws to limit how close a bar can be to our places of worship. I see no difference between this and what you are trying to do for Bear Butte. I'm not against having bars, but we don't want to have a lot of loud drinkers and music disturbing our worship.

I wish you success.

rlingen said...

I have prayed at our sacred site. I have supported our grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers and sisters who have sacrificed there.
I have also attended the rally as I ride the iron horse the shows me some of the freedom we once had long ago. Years past there was more respect from a much harder crowd that used to attend the rally. Now we have tourists on high dollar motorcycles. Thousands of them. It reminds me of the stories of the trappers and mountain men who came to our land that showed respect for the people, the wild life and the land. They took, but only what they needed to make a living. Then the greedy people showed up and just took what didn't belong to them. They took more than they needed. They brought thier bad behavior. They forced the people off thier lands and took away thier heritage. Now they do it again. I am ashamed, as I too am a biker. I too have some white ancestors, I just can't prove it. We must make a stand here and now. We must stop the greed. Ha Ho! Veho ne ma en nah