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This Place Gave Birth to a Nation

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 10th, 2014 Last Updated on: June 10th, 2014

A new sign greets visitors to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. According to a press release from the National Park Service, the sign was a result of consultation meetings dating back to 2006 held between the park and local tribes with cultural or historical ties to Wind Cave.

“We are very pleased with the results of this process,” said park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “The former sign was historically inaccurate and culturally insensitive. The park removed it in 2006. This new sign tells the story of the significance of this opening in the words of the indigenous people.”

Along with choosing the graphics for the sign, the text was written by tribal members. The National Park Service helped with the layout, but otherwise the sign was entirely developed by the tribal representatives. Four of the consultation meetings were held at Wind Cave National Park and one was held on the reservation for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Part of the text includes a creation story. The sign also includes symbols of the five tribes involved with creating the sign.

Native Nations have recognized this special place since time immemorial. The Lakota Nation, in particular, chronicles this opening as the place of emergence of their people, “Pte Oyate” – buffalo nation, to the surface of the world. Their creation story says they were beneath the surface and were led to the sunlight by Tokahe (the first to come).

I would love to see more historical signs like this in national parks!

Photo by National Park Service

Photo by National Park Service


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » This Place Gave Birth to a Nation

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.



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