Black Hills

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Location: South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, United States

Who Considers it Sacred? The Great Sioux Nation

Significance: The entire Black Hills form a sacred landscape, considered to be sacred to members of the Great Sioux Nation. While specific places, such as Devil’s Tower or Mato Paho and Bear Butte, are well known as public parks, they hold religious and ceremonial significance for the Sioux. Other areas within the hills are known through oral histories to be sacred: emergence points for human beings, places of healing waters, places for burial rites, gathering places of sacred medicines and ceremonial grounds. All of these specific sites form a sacred unified landscape, the sum of which is sacred. Although individual places continue to be used for spiritual practices, the spiritual connection of the Sioux is to all of the Black Hills.

The Threat: Ongoing mining, logging, housing and tourism development continue to degrade the sacredness of the region and interfere with the sacred practices and beliefs of the Sioux.

Nominated By: Defenders of the Black Hills, a volunteer activist organization based in South Dakota

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