January 16, 2011

Go Native's "Bear Medicine" tour

Into Bear Country! (With a Guide)The bear has long been considered by the Plains Indians a powerful symbol of healing and power, a grandfather and a guardian. There is no way to experience the grandeur (and avoid the danger) of the wilds of western South Dakota then with a Native American guide, one of the Plains Indians who lead week-long journeys into Grizzly territory, revealing the mystical connection between the Plains Indians and bears.

There are tours offered by outfits like Go Native that let you go into Grizzly country with an experienced guide (it’s a good way to understand the history of the ground you’re walking on, and, to not get eaten.) For this tour, the journey beings at one of the most sacred sites on the Northern Plains—the Mato Paha, or Bear Butte, a geological formation that is basically an isolated hill with very steep sides and a flat top. This site is, “the holy center of the Cheyenne universe,” where your guide tells the story of the prophet Sweet Medicine, who received the knowledge from God that went on to inform the Cheyenne’s political, religious, social and economic customs. Mato Paha was sacred to the Sioux and Lakota as well, and indigenous people made pilgrimages to the butte to leave prayer cloths and bundles tied to tree branches.
Comment:  For more on Native tours, see Native Plymouth Tours and Cherokee Nation Offers Tour Package.

No comments: