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Feb 21st
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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Devils Tower Opens New Interpretive Site


Devils Tower Opens New Interpretive Site

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Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, America's first national monument, may be a rock climber's delight, but to many Native Americans it a sacred place where many ancient beginnings and blessings had their origins

Now a new interpretive site called Tribal Connections is open to the public, and its purpose is to present the historic and modern connections more than 20 affiliated tribes have to the massive column of stone.

The centerpiece of the new site is Wind Circle, a world peace sculpture donated to the National Park Service by internationally renowned Japanese sculptor Junkyu Muto.

The peace sculpture is the third of nine to be placed at significant sites throughout the world. The first was placed at the Vatican in 2000 and the second in Buddha Gaya, India in 2005, where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

According to tribal belief, the tower is the location where the White Buffalo Calf Woman delivered the sacred bundle to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota nations. Along with the sacred bundle, she taught the people how to perform the seven sacred ceremonies and to live in a good and humble way.

The official opening of the new interpretive site was held Sept. 6, 2008, and the day was filled with a mist which did not deter the performances or the many visitors. The crowd was entertained by the Wind River Tribal Dancers, tribal drum groups from Pine Ridge and Northern Cheyenne reservations, and a beautiful version of the White Buffalo Calf story as told by Tillie Black Bear, Rosebud Sioux tribal member and director of the White Buffalo Calf society.

Several entertainers traveled from Japan to celebrate the unveiling of the world peace sculpture - the Wa-On Taiko drummers, Japanese singer Mine Matsuki and Japanese radio celebrity Reiko Yukawa.

Local entertainers Lorrie Redfield and Shana Jahnig added to the entertainment with their beautiful voices. In addition, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation keeper of the sacred bundle delivered by the White Buffalo Calf Woman, spoke of his world peace and prayer day efforts and the consul general for Japan in Denver, Kazuaki Kubo, spoke of the importance of the days activities.

Created by President Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act in 1906, Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. According to the National Park Service, it is believed that the tower got its name when in 1876 Colonel Richard Dodge's translator misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God's Tower, later shortened to Devils Tower.

Some Indians call it Mato Tipila, meaning Bear Lodge. Other American Indian names include Bear's Tipi, Home of the Bear, and Tree Rock.

The telling of some of those beliefs and origins will be the focus of the new interpretive center.

National & State Parks