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The Black Hills
From Legends of the Mighty
Paha Sapa, or the Black Hills, have
long been regarded by the Sioux as their holy land.
Each year tribes came from great
distances to cure illness in the warm springs and to hunt wild
A legend of the Sioux, still firmly
believed, is that the dark of night turns the rocks into spirits
that sing strange songs, awakening the echoes.
From holes in rock walls healing
waters flow and the people fill their buffalo-horn cups with
the clear water and drink it to become pure.
From the great needles of rock that
touch the sky the Medicine Men call the Mighty Spirit.
The great deposits of glistening
metals should be used for holy wearing and never sold. The Sioux
knew of the gold there long before it was discovered by white
The picture paintings on the red
stone walls, made long before the coming of the Sioux, are read
by holy men as a guide on how to live.
The crystal caves, hidden beneath
the ground, have great mystery.
It was on Bear Butte, Mato Paha,
that the father of Crazy Horse preformed the rites of a holy
man and was given great powers from the Mighty Spirit, who appeared
to him in the form of a bear. Later, in 1876, a great council
was held at this butte, where chiefs talked over the giving
of the Black Hills to the United States Government.
In days of old, Harney Peak was
never climbed by the Sioux because there was a strong belief
that it was visited by the Thunder Bird. Legend further adds
that whenever the Thunder Bird stopped it caused much lightning
and thunder in the Black Hills.
Of all the land losses suffered
by the Sioux with the coming of white men, the giving away of
the holy Black Hills caused the most sadness.
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