Monday, September 10, 2012

South Dakota here we come...

The next stop on our huge adventure was South Dakota. The main aim of our journey here was to see Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore.

Little did we know that we were about to stumble upon the biggest Motorcycle Rally in the USA - Sturgis! Since 1938, Sturgis has welcomed motorcycle enthusiasts from across the United States and around the world to the annual Motorcycle Rally. Based out of this small community in the northern Black Hills, the Rally officially runs for seven days every August.

Motorcycle traffic to and around South Dakota typically increases as early as two weeks before the official start date of the event and continues for as late as two weeks after the conclusion.

What started as a weekend celebration with less than two dozen racers participating in a handful of events including half-mile races, ramp jumps, and board-wall crashes, the Rally has grown significantly. First organized solely by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, the Rally now takes the efforts of most of the population of Sturgis (approximately 6,400) as well as hundreds of outside vendors. It is estimated that over 100,000 people attended this years event, and we were in the thick of things.

Garry still located a great camping site, be it amongst a large group of bikes!

While travelling to South Dakota I discovered the current National Geographic magazine's feature article investigated the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Shadow of Wounded Knee.

The article discusses that after 150 years of broken promises, the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota are nurturing their tribal customs, language, and beliefs. The article is a portrait that explains their resilience in the face of hardship.

Oglala youths hold an upside-down flag—an international symbol of distress and an act of defiance toward the U.S. government—at a rally to commemorate a 1975 shoot-out between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI agents. Two agents and one AIM member died; AIM’s Leonard Peltier was jailed for life. Photo by Aron Huey
The article explains that Alex White Plume, a 60-year-old Oglala Lakota activist, lives with his family and extended family on a 2,000-acre ranch near Wounded Knee Creek.  According to author  Alexandra Fuller, White Plume’s land is lovely beyond any singing, rolling out from sage-covered knolls to creeks bruised with late summer lushness. From certain aspects, you can see the Badlands, all sun-bleached spires and scoured pinnacles. And looking another way, you can see the horizon-crowning darkness of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

 White Plume asked us all to consider the seemingly calculated insult of Mount Rushmore. “The leaders of the people who have broken every treaty with my people have their faces carved into our most holy place. What is the equivalent? Do you have an equivalent?”

After reading this moving article I couldn't face a visit to Mount Rushmore. Instead we headed for the sculpture in progress, called Crazy Horse.

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