Our Native Culture
The Black Hills of South Dakota are rich in Native American culture and history. One way to appreciate this culture is to take an early morning hike up Bear Butte. Located approximately 25 miles north of Rapid City, Bear Butte State Park is a geological wonder and a place of worship for many Native American tribes. The hike to the top is rugged but the view is spectacular. Visitors are asked to be respectful of worshippers and their religious practices.
Another great early morning option is Devils Tower National Monument. Over 20 tribes express a cultural connection with the monument through stories of the tower’s creation. The most popular legend involves a bear clawing the sides of the tower to form the various columns. Devils Tower is located approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from Rapid City across the border and into Wyoming. To make the most of your trip, plan to drive during sunrise.
Head back to Rapid City for a hearty breakfast or sit down and enjoy a bagel and latte at one of many dining options. After recharging, take a tour of The Journey Museum & Learning Center in downtown Rapid City. This unique museum will show you the history of the “Paha Sapa” (Lakota for Black Hills) and leave you with a greater respect for the land and its people.
If you have time, stop at Sioux Pottery, where you will see traditionally designed and hand-crafted pottery by Sioux Indian Artists. Browse their extensive inventory right in Rapid City.
Enjoy a delightful lunch in historic downtown topped off by shopping at Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries. Here you’ll find fine Native American arts and crafts, beadwork, clothing and replicas of authentic wares.
One of the most comprehensive ways to learn about Native American history in South Dakota is to spend an afternoon at Crazy Horse Memorial. This ongoing mountain carving of the great Lakota warrior is not only a tribute to the Sioux Nation, but to tribes everywhere. The Indian Museum of North America, located within the complex, showcases authentic items donated from Native Americans all over the United States and Canada.