Statement by Chief Arvol Looking Horse
on the Protection of Bear Butte Sacred Site

February 9, 2003

I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, would like to add my voice to the Permanent Protection of Bear Butte, a Sacred Site located north of Sturgis, SD.

We have understood the significance of the Black Hills as being a Sacred Site from our ancestral oral history. This place is known as the "Heart of everything that is". With modern technology now available with the satellite pictures of the earth, indeed, the Black Hills is in the shape of a heart. Also, with these photographs we can see that when the footage is fast forwarded in the four seasons, it looks like a heart pumping. We acknowledge that our ancestors were truly visionaries! Our ancestors have passed down sacred teachings of Bear Butte for the preservation of our spiritual well being. In our Sacred Star Knowledge, Bear Butte is recorded as part of the star formation; the mirror in the sky that reflects the Black Hill's sacred places of power for our spiritual guidance. Many generations of spiritual people have always been taught this important significance.

In reference to the proposed construction of the Sportsman Complex, I would like to add my voice along with many concerned People that are putting a stop to this creation. Since the age of 12, as a Spiritual Leader, I was taught the importance of energy. Therefore I was always told that I could never carry a weapon or speak foul language, which I have honored to this day. I was taught that these things disrupt the "wowakan", sacred energy. In our sacred ceremonies and meetings of great importance it was always told that one person could disrupt the ceremony or decisions. A person that has negative thoughts of disrespect carries this negative energy. We have to follow protocol to always have a good heart and good mind for our ceremonies and decisions to be strong.

Bear Butte has this energy of "wowakan". It must be protected from the gunfire that will surely bring negative energy. For one example, when we perform our sacred ceremonies, we connect with 'Mitakuye Oyasin', all our relations, including the animal nations that also live around the Sacred Site. We depend on them through signs with their presence when they show themselves to us, each carrying a meaning of great spiritual importance. To allow this construction, this will surely disrupt the environment and they will move to another area. I see this as a violation to our "Freedom of Religion" since this is a very strong negative force of energy that will disrupt our spiritual way of life. The Sacred Site's gifts to our People will surely vanish forever!

I encourage those of you that are unconsciously creating an unnecessary recreational activity to re-evaluate your motives, especially in these times of war, with the negative decisions that are made to take away many innocent lives. We do not need to promote this lifestyle with our youth, but rather teach them the means of Peace through respect and understanding of one another's spiritual beliefs and culture.

In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!

Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe
of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation

Next Article