PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2019 

Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

Daily Newscasts

World Peace and Prayer Day Observance for Bear Butte

June 21, 2007

Eagle Butte, SD - Today's World Peace and Prayer Day ceremony at Bear Butte in Western South Dakota is bringing nations and faiths together to honor and respect sacred sites. The Butte became the focus of a controversial decision by the Meade County Commission last year when a liquor license was approved for a business located near the base of the hill during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Native American groups were angered by the decision and took it to court. Rep. Tom Van Norman, a senior tribal attorney with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, says the public should have the right to decide.

"A real concern is people like to pray in quiet up on the mountain. They like to take nature walks. And sound does travel uphill and gets magnified. So, it would be virtually impossible for anybody to pray while a rock concert was going on less than two miles away. State law does give you the right to block anybody who wants to sell liquor based on bad location, or if it's the bad character, or what they call 'unsuitable.'"

The issue is now before the South Dakota Supreme Court. Van Norman calls it a major case that will affect the future of a great spiritual place revered by Native Americans and other people.

"So we've seen internal struggle over religious freedom and the ability to continue doing that. [We've seen] the local folks who don't want this kind of noise and the impact of the dust and travel that hurt their livelihood in the form of cattle. Also, their particular property that they own is going to be impacted by all this additional traffic."

The National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund in Colorado and a law school in North Dakota are stepping in to support keeping the site sacred. The Association of Christian Churches of South Dakota is also supporting the case, urging respect for the religious rights and practices of all Native Americans.

David Law/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - SD