Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to Bear Butte State Park. Bear Butte is a geological mountain of rock that formed millions of years ago near Sturgis. It was established as a State Park in 1961. Along with its hiking trails, visitors can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, camping and rafting.
The Visitor Center is a tribute to many Indian tribes who came to the mountain. Even today the mountain is sacred to many native people, who make pilgrimages to leave prayer cloths and tobacco bundles tied to the branches of the trees along the mountain’s flanks. Other offerings are often left at the top of the mountain. There is also various religious ceremonies that take place throughout the year. The mountain is a place of prayer, meditation, and peace.
Famous Indians like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull made pilgrimages to the site. In 1857, a council of many Indian nations gathered at Bear Butte to discuss the growing presence of white settlers in the Black Hills. They have discovered Indian artifacts dating back 10,000 years here at Bear Butte.
The Indians believed they shared the Earth with their animal relatives, especially the bison. The Indians were thankful for the gifts the bison provided them every day and had many ceremonies to Mitakuye Oyasin, or all are related/all my relations to express gratitude for the connectedness of life. The bison gave the gift of life by sacrificing its own: the flesh and blood of the bison were a part of the flesh and blood of the Plains Indians.
Bear Butte Mountain Trail
While we were on the mountain you could sense and feel you were on scared place. A holy place and you felt at peace. The idea of Indians tying colorful cloth around the trees, would like me being a Christian, putting a cross on a tree.
An Inspiring place for sure.
Our next venture was back to Sturgis were we are staying
We took a walk thru Strugis only 3 weeks before the Big Rally. They were starting to prepair for all the bikers coming in from all over the world.
Another great day in South Dakota!