Bear Butte State Park is located in South Dakota, United States.
An important landmark and religious site for the Plains Indians tribes long before Europeans reached South Dakota, Bear Butte is called Mato Paha, or Bear Mountain, by the Lakota, or Sioux. To the Cheyenne, it is Noahvose, the place where Maheo (God) imparted to Sweet Medicine, a Cheyenne prophet, the knowledge from which the Cheyenne derive their religious, political, social, and economic customs.
The mountain is sacred to many indigenous peoples, who make pilgrimages to leave prayer cloths and bundles tied to the branches of the trees along the mountain's flanks. Other offerings are often left at the top of the mountain. The site is associated with various religious ceremonies throughout the year.
The mountain is a place of prayer, meditation, and peace. Official park policy advises visitors to Bear Butte to respect worshippers and to leave religious offerings undisturbed.
Bear Butte shares a similar geological history with other formations in the region, including the Black Hills, Devils Tower, the Missouri Buttes, and some parts of the Rocky Mountains.
Modern history Human artifacts have been found on or near Bear Butte that date back 10,000 years, indicating a long and continuous interest in the mountain.The Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual interest in Bear Butte from their earliest recorded history. Notable visitors like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull made pilgrimages to the site.
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D.J. - 07.20.13
I have been to Bear Butte several times. It is a very beautiful place but it has had a couple of very bad forest fires. I have done pipe ceremonies on the summit three times now. Being up there I have felt like I'm on top of the world.
The first time I was on the top I started to walk south along the spine when a voice came to me and said: "take off your shoes, this is a sacred place". So I went back to the wooden deck and left my boots there then proceeded to walk.
Also on two occasions two different corn snakes blocked my passage temporarily. The first time the snake was huge and was across the road when I was driving out, and then it disappeared. The second time it was a smaller snake on the trail about half way up the mountain. I almost stepped on this one and then it too disappeared. (A third encounter with the same kind of snake was in the basement of a building I was renting for a shop here in Wisconsin. This guy was blocking the stairs. I finally got him outside.)
With the sacredness of Bear Butte I cannot see how a bikers bar could have been allowed to be built within site of the mountain. The noise of the motorcycles and the "music" disturbs the People doing Vision Quest or Sweat Lodge at the mountain.
Bear Butte is located in the Black Hills region and has long been a spiritual site for the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Lakota Indian tribes. Human artifacts that date back 10,000 years have been found on Bear Butte.
A Cheyenne Indian belief is that God came down on Bear Butte and gave them sacred knowledge. Also, it is notable that a herd of Buffalo roams at the base of Bear Butte.