Black Hawk Productions

 
 

Commentary by Phillip B Gottfredson

 

Bear Butte

Bear Butte Update - Since this article ran, many who were concerned voiced their opinions to the legislator who have conceded to purchase the land surrounding Bear Butte to recognize and preserve the sacred site, and to honor the religious rights of the American Indian people. 

February 2, 2008

Bill fails to ban alcohol near sacred mountain
Feb. 06, 2008

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) An effort on the behalf of American Indians to make
alcohol off-limits near Bear Butte was rejected today in the South Dakota
Legislature.

The mountain on the outskirts of Sturgis is sacred to Indians, and many of
them go there to pray.

HB1309 would have prohibited alcohol beverage sales within 1 mile of Bear
Butte.

Representative Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge says increased development in the
area is encroaching on the mountain and should be stopped.

But the House Commerce Committee did not agree. It rejected Bradford's
proposed buffer zone by a vote of 9-4.

_www.kxmc.com/ News/206652.asp_
 

Here we have American citizens with good intentions, asking their government leaders to project their religious rights but are denied protection under the law in favor of those who want to use a sacred site so they can get drunk. Are there not enough places in South Dakota to drink alcohol? Or is it because they are Indians who are asking for help? People say there is no racism in America. People say that the American Indian people are treated with equality as are all Americans. Yet here is one of many examples that proves the opposite to be true.

The issue here is not just a few people who choose Bear Butte as a place to drink a few beers. It is the crowds of people who are going to Bear Butte, blasting the area with loud music from boom boxes, and leaving their trash everywhere. This kind of activity is disruptive to those who go to Bear Butte to worship. It would be the same as a drinking party being held in the parking lot of a church disrupting religious services. Of coarse authorities would then take immediate action. Then why are one people given protection under the law and not others? Bear Butte has been a sacred site for worship long before the area became populated by whites.    

Discrimination that goes by ignored, people who say "its not my problem" are in fact contributing to the erosion of the human rights of everyone everywhere.