December 04, 2006

Sacred site scarred

An elegy for historic Bear ButteThe other day about 9 a.m., I came up over the rise expecting to see the stark and lonely magnificence of Bear Butte as it always has been and always will be. But what I saw instead was a scar as red as lipstick that marred, perhaps even ruined, the view.

The scar is a biker bar.

Last summer, a man named Jay Allen built a 22,000-square-foot, three-story roadhouse bar 21/2 miles north of the base of the butte. It's called the Broken Spoke. Its garish red metal walls shout down the subtle drab pastels of the plains. It's an eyesore. It's an open affront to American Indians. The parking lot looks like one you would find at a baseball stadium or special events center. Allen plans to carve out a 30,000-seat amphitheater at the site where he will host rock concerts during the annual Sturgis rally. According to press reports, one regular feature of the Broken Spoke will be a Best Breasts contest. You get the picture.

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