indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Plans for shooting range near sacred site scrapped
Monday, January 12, 2004

Lakota activists in South Dakota celebrated over the weekend after learning that plans for a shooting range near sacred Bear Butte have been dropped.

Charmaine White Face, coordinator for the Defenders of the Black Hills, said prayers and good work led the developers to abandon the controversial proposal. Her group led the fight against the shooting range, which would have been built just a few miles from a place where tribal members have gone for thousands of years to practice their religion.

"Thank you to all of you for your prayers, support, and encouragement," White Face said in a statement. "This could not have been accomplished without all of us together."

On Friday, Sturgis Industrial Expansion Corp. (SIEC) and the city of Sturgis filed papers in federal court announcing their decision to withdraw. They said the loss of federal funds for the project "made it impractical and unfeasible to proceed with the development and construction of the shooting range" near Bear Butte.

The actual decision came on Wednesday at a special meeting of the SIEC board. Members voted unanimously to "abandon any further development" on the site in question, according to documents filed with the court.

The move comes nearly a year after Lakota activists first learned of the proposed range. They believed that noise, traffic, pollution and increased visitors would disrupt pilgrimages to Bear Butte, where Lakota and other Plains people go for spiritual guidance.

Defenders of the Black Hills joined with five tribes in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana to stop the range. They sued the developers and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which pledged $825,000 in federal funds for the project.

It was these funds that would eventually break the deal. Acting on the complaints made by the Indian plaintiffs and the plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit, HUD investigators found that South Dakota officials submitted misleading information in order to obtain money from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Upon learning of the lapse, Gov. Mike Rounds (R) returned the money to HUD. That left the developers, they said, with no means to move forward.

The idea for the range actually came from former Gov. Bill Janklow (R), who is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of second-degree felony manslaughter for a traffic accident that killed a motorcyclist. He took credit for the idea and it was during his administration that the faulty data was provided to HUD. His administration also was responsible for doling out the CDBG grant to the Sturgis coalition.

Bear Butte is just one of hundreds of sites throughout the U.S. that are threatened by development. Indian leaders said existing laws, regulations and executive orders aren't enough to protect sacred places, and have called for tougher laws.

White Face testified at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on sacred sites. She described Bear Butte as "one of the most sacred places on the Earth." "The spiritual effects of this place can be felt by almost everyone," she said, adding that the view from the top of the small mountain "is unexplainable in human language."

Court Filings:
Motion to Dismiss | Affidavit | SIED Board Minutes

Relevant Links:
Defenders of the Black Hills - http://www.defendblackhills.org/defenders

Related Stories:
Developers: Shooting range near Bear Butte still on (12/16)
Plans for shooting range near Bear Butte on hold (12/02)
Developers face deadline on proposed shooting range (11/14)
S.D. commission bans hunting at sacred site (11/07)
Janklow thought of shooting range by sacred site (10/17)
Janklow defends use of grant for shooting range (10/16)
S.D. governor says shooting range grant was OK (10/13)
Lakota group seeks protection of Black Hills (09/19)
S.D. to return grant for Bear Butte shooting range (09/19)
Protections for sacred sites called inadequate (06/19)
Federal funds used for shooting range near sacred site (03/25)
Judge to hear tribal suit against shooting range (3/19)
Four tribes file lawsuit to stop shooting range (03/04)

Copyright © 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Taking a trip down memory lane with Lakota Times (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe puts hold on ethics board (4/24)
Steven Newcomb: Gradual stealing of Western Shoshone land (4/24)
John Kane: Keystone battle is about Native identity and land (4/24)
Albert Bender: Cowboys and Indians unite to fight Keystone (4/24)
Joyce Oberly: Teach all sides of tribal land theft in Oklahoma (4/24)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Treating Native culture as a commodity (4/24)
Al Jazeera: Pascua Yaqui Tribe looks for justice under VAWA (4/24)
Northern Arapaho Tribe per cap stirs boost in local economy (4/24)
Navajo Nation Council fails to revive higher tax on junk foods (4/24)
Graton Rancheria defends decision to pave over historic site (4/24)
North Dakota commission backs power line opposed by tribes (4/24)
Former Cedarville Rancheria leader back in court for murders (4/24)
Florida court rejects tribal jurisdiction in child custody dispute (4/24)
South Dakota Tribal Relations Secretary to step down from job (4/24)
Yakama Nation sues to put a stop to tours on sacred mountain (4/24)
CSKT firm lands $1.8M contract to provide military equipment (4/24)
Indiana settles lawsuit over religious rights of Indian inmates (4/24)
District leaders on Tohono O'odham Nation removed over theft (4/24)
Morongo Band announces partnership for Internet poker game (4/24)
Snoqualmie Tribe seeks repayment of investment in Fiji casino (4/24)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe expected to miss second gaming payment (4/24)
Judge won't block construction of Jamul Indian Village casino (4/24)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe awaits decision in gaming lawsuit (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala student makes name as young writer (4/23)
Mark Trahant: Budget predictions at the Indian Health Service (4/23)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides in Washington (4/23)
Gyasi Ross: Stop Keystone XL Pipeline and protect homelands (4/23)
Videos: Cowboy Indian Alliance protests Keystone XL Pipeline (4/23)
Steve Russell: Indians often seen an obstacle to government (4/23)
Mary Pember: Ojibwe women rise to protect the environment (4/23)
Brent Cahwee: Shoni Schimmel brings her show to the WNBA (4/23)
Malcolm Benally: Some Navajo leaders clueless on mascots (4/23)
Jacoby Ellsbury makes strong debut with New York Yankees (4/23)
Washington team owner says he 'understands' Indian issues (4/23)
Gathering of Nations ready for annual powwow and pageant (4/23)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Navajo family sues restaurant over drunken driving deaths (4/23)
Crushplate: 10 disturbing facts about Indian Country health (4/23)
North Dakota tribe ranks high among energy producers in US (4/23)
WXPR: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe taps green energy (4/23)
Opinion: Tribal members challenge California taxation rules (4/23)
Supreme Court allows ban on affirmative action in Michigan (4/23)
Turtle Talk: No word from Supreme Court on Bay Mills case (4/23)
ICT interview with Ernie Stevens of NIGA on racist mascots (4/23)
Jamul Band rejects claim about burial ground at casino site (4/23)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sends $1M casino application fee (4/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation seeks road grant for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Teacher resigns after arrest for theft at Poarch Creek casino (4/23)
Native Sun News: Sisseton Wahpeton fighter gets big chance (4/22)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man behind Revolution Couture (4/22)
CDC reports show high death rates among Native Americans (4/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.