Native Americans Oppose Development Catering To Annual Biker Rally

The foundation of a huge commercial development geared toward the massive crowds of an annual motorcycle rally has been laid on South Dakota prairie land directly adjacent to a state park and a mountaintop sacred to Native American tribes.

"Now, 2 miles from the mountain's base, an Arizona developer has scraped the prairie and poured foundation for a new 22,500-square-foot biker bar, a 150,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot, a sprawling biker campground and an amphitheater with space for more than 30,000 people and a stage 'constructed to meet the specifications of the biggest music acts known to mankind,' according to his website. Just to the south, a Sturgis developer is seeking a full liquor license for another biker bar, campground and concert complex."

Tribe members and locals have formed an alliance to convince the developer to move the project, seeking a 5-mile barrier between the planned entertainment complex and the park and sacred butte. But the Arizona developer pushing the project has already secured a beer license for his 600-acre development and has every intention of using it. The sacred land, a meditation site of famed tribal leader Crazy Horse, is in impending danger of being blasted with the sounds of motorcycles and concerts, if only for a couple weeks per year.

"'We were very respectful,' tribe member Jay Red Hawk said. 'We told him it wasn't just a native issue, but a community issue. Nobody wants to stop the rally, but we don't want it coming out here.'"

"Some white ranchers have joined with the Indians, as they did four years ago to stop construction of a firing range near the butte."

"'It takes all of us, people from all walks of life, to defend this land,' Red Hawk said."

Full Story: Near Sturgis, a fight over the sacred


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