Views: Middle school students debate Bear Butte

The Rapid City Journal asked seventh-grade students at Sturgis Williams Middle School for their views on Bear Butte and encroachment on the sacred site.

Shelbi Bruse calls for compromise between tribes who use the site and developers who bring thousands of bikers to the area every year. "Bear Butte should be open to all people for their enjoyment, and it should also be available as a place of worship for the American Indians," Bruse says.

Jenifer Hall says the land should be returned to the tribes under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. "To give the entire Black Hills back to the American Indians is not a realistic solution, as many people call the Black Hills their home. However, we should give all of Bear Butte State Park back to the American Indians, especially since it is their place of worship," Hall writes.

Delayna LaBelle says Bear Butte isn't really that sacred. "People have felt badly for a long time about the way American Indians have been treated and are attempting to make the situation appear better by granting the American Indians special privileges," LaBelle says.

Get the Story:
Views on Bear Butte (The Rapid City 4/16)
Shelbi Bruse: Compromise required to solve issue (The Rapid City 4/16)
Jenifer Hall: Give tribes sacred place to worship (The Rapid City 4/16)
Delayna LaBelle: No culture gets its land for free (The Rapid City 4/16)

Relevant Links:
Bear Butte International Alliance -
Defenders of the Black Hills -

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