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Badlands National Park - Page 2

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In response, Hunkpapa Sioux leader and medicine man Sitting Bull summoned 10 tribes of the Sioux, plus the Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne, to his camp in Montana Territory to discuss their options. By this time, the gold rush was full blown and it was estimated that approximately 10,000 white settlers populated the Hills. Mining camps were established near Custer, Hill City and Deadwood. As old claims played out, new ones were found and towns died or were born almost overnight.

 

On June 25, 1876, in the valley of the Little Bighorn River, Sitting Bull and his 4,000 warriors were encamped when Custer and his troops came upon them. In an infamous decision, Custer elected to divide his command and mount an attack. Hopelessly outnumbered, Custer and his entire force of more than 200 soldiers were killed in less than twenty minutes. Congress reacted quickly and began punishing even the peaceful Sioux. Rations of food and clothing were cut dramatically and eventually a new treaty was exacted which ceded tribal land in the Black Hills to the federal government.

 

Badlands with the Black Hills in the background

The Pine Ridge Reservation of the Sioux is located just outside of the Badlands. Today, they see only the outline of their sacred Black Hills. The Sioux continue to claim the Black Hills in an ongoing land dispute  with the US Government.This image available for photographic prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

 

 

By the 1880ís, homesteaders were busy farming, gold was being harvested from the Black Hills, riverboats ran up and down the rivers, and railroad tracks were being built to the many new settlements. By 1889, the population of South Dakota was large enough to warrant statehood.

The winter of 1890 found the once proud Sioux, stripped of much of their lands, living on reservations and participating in the Ghost Dance, a spiritual movement that came about in the late 1880s when Native Americans needed something to give them hope. However, Bureau of Indian Affairs agents were becoming alarmed, claiming that the Lakota had developed a militaristic approach to the dance and began making "ghost shirts" they thought would protect them from bullets. The BIA agent in charge of the Lakota eventually sent the tribal police to arrest Sitting Bull, a leader respected among the Lakotas, to force him to stop the dance. In the struggle that followed, Sitting Bull was killed, along with a number of policemen.

Following the killing of Sitting Bull, the United States sent the Seventh Cavalry to "disarm the Lakota and take control." During the events that followed, now known as the WoundedKnee Massacre on December 29, 1890, 457 U.S. soldiers opened fire upon the Sioux, killing more than 200 of them, including their leader, Chief Big Foot. The massacre at Wounded Knee was the last major clash between American Indians and the U.S. military during the days of the Old West.

WoundedKnee is not within the boundaries of Badlands National Park, but located approximately 45 miles south of the park on Pine Ridge Reservation.

In 1939, the Badlands National Monument was established to protect its fossil resources and its stunning geological scenery. The area was re-designated as a National Park in 1978.

In addition to its rich human history and spectacular scenic views, the park today provides numerous hiking trails, ranger programs, a paleontological dig active in the summer, an abundance of wildlife, campgrounds, and two visitorís centers.

The Stronghold Unit, comprised of lands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is owned by the Oglala Sioux and managed by the National Park Service under an agreement with the Tribe. This area includes sites of the 1890ís Ghost Dances as well as a Gunnery Range utilized by the United States Air Force during gunnery range during World War II.

The Badlands National Park is located about one hour east of Rapid City on I-90 at exits 110 and 131

 

 

Contact Information:


Badlands National Park

P.O. Box 6
25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, South Dakota  57750
605-433-5361

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September, 2016.

 

Wounded Knee Battlefield, South Dakota

WoundedKnee Massacre today, Kathy Weiser, September, 2011.

This image available for photographic prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

Also See:

 

Banshee Of The Bad Lands

The Black Hills of South Dakota

Lakota, Dakota, Nakota - The Great Sioux Nation

Rough & Tumble Deadwood

Wounded Knee Massacre

 

Badlands National Park Photo Slideshow:

 

 

All images available for photographic prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

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