The most potent symbol of the tribal connection between spirituality and sovereignty are South Dakota’s Black Hills, or Paha Sapa. The Hills – named for their dark silhouettes smudged against the horizon - have long been of spiritual significance to the Cheyenne and Lakota. The Lakota always called He Sapa, the Black Hills, 'The Heart Of Everything That Is', and when James B Herrington (Chickasaw), a Native American astronaut took a photograph of the Black Hills from space, unsurprisingly to traditional Lakotas, they looked exactly like a map of the human heart.
About Your Day
Spend the morning at Wind Cave, learning of Lakota genesis, visiting the cave entrance from whence The People emerged to the face of the earth.
Travel into what is now known as Custer State Park and enjoy lunch at the State Game Lodge, after which you spend time seeking out Tatanka, the buffalo - which was everything to the Lakota: the meat sustained the people, the hides clothed and sheltered them and the bones provided tools and arrowheads. But more importantly, the buffalo was, and remains, a direct spiritual link to the ancestors. And in the undulating grassland, encounter the descendants of the great buffalo herds that once roamed the plains.
Among the granite spires and brook laden grassy meadows of the Black Hills experience the tradition of Lakota storytelling.
Where: Black Hills of South Dakota
Meeting Place: Rapid City, SD
Tribes: Oglala Lakota
Activity level: Very easy
Duration: 9 am-4.30pm