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Black Hills, South Dakota
Fast Facts
Natural Wonder
Historic Interest
Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

The Needles, Custer State Park


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The Black Hills of South Dakota, known as Paha Sapa to the Lakota, are a place warriors once awaited visions. And while this Native American tradition is all but lost the images remain vivid. Gigantic granite carvings, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial, set the stage. Indian lore and Wild West legend provide the characters. - General Custer, Red Cloud, Wild Bill Hickok, Poker Alice, George Hearst, Gutzon Borglum, Peter Norbeck, and Korczak Ziolkowski to name a few. - Ponderosa pine forest, scenic caves, gold camps, historic trains, hiking trails and wildlife (most notably bison) round out the experience. And while it may be difficult to envision the Black Hills as the center of the universe, it is easy to picture this sacred spot as a place of beginning.
Lakota Indians
The Lakota, also spelled Lakhota, are a Native American tribe. This branch of the Sioux confederacy, often referred to as Teton Sioux, hunted small game along the forested shores of the Mississippi before migrating west in the 1700s. Formidable hunters, the horse-bound Lakota Indians easily adapted to life on the plains. They hunted bison and lived in teepees. Like other Plains Indians the Lakota were a nomadic people. They followed the American Buffalo from once place to another. And while the name Lakota means friends or allies they were feared by other tribes and aggressively defended their land against the advance of prospectors and white settlers. When the U.S. government withdrew from the Fort Laramie Treaty, the Lakota together with the Arapaho and Cheyenne fought against the U.S. Cavalry in a series of struggles including the Battle of the Rosebud and Battle of Little Bighorn. Famous Lakota include Bigfoot, Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy horse.
Travel Trivia
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