Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update Bear Butte 7/31 ~ Helicopters on site already

July 31, 2008

Sturgis is already insane with people, bikes and vendors, lots going on already. The helicopters have already started arriving. Took this one at the Lamphere Ranch today, which is on hwy 34 & just west of hwy 79. Attempted to talk with the pilot, but he wasn't anywhere around, so will keep trying. Didn't see any helicopters at the other three campgrounds, so far. I am going to try and talk to all of them, if possible, just to see what their intentions are. Spoke with FAA again today, he is going to be out here all weekend talking with these guys and monitoring what is happening.

Will keep you all posted as we go along...........

It's gonna be a longgggggg next 10 days!

In peace & solidarity,
Tamra Brennan
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"

Monday, July 28, 2008

FOUR Campgrounds near Bear Butte NOW offering HELICOPTER rides

Hello everyone,

Many of you may be aware that the past couple months, we have been battling a new attack of helicopters over the mountain. A couple of months ago, Broken Spoke Campground, formally known as Sturgis County Line were the first to announce they were offering helicopter rides during the rally.

There are now FOUR separate campgrounds near Bear Butte that are offering helicopter rides during the Sturgis Rally.

Just this afternoon, this banner "Helicopter Rides" went up on the side of this trailer, at Ride -N- Rest Campground, on Hwy 79 just a mile or so South of Bear Butte.

I called my contact with the FAA, he is going to give them a call and discuss the issue with flying over Bear Butte. Again, all FAA can do is make "suggestions and guidelines" and request the pilot not fly over Bear Butte. Any of these campgrounds can decide at any point, to fly over the mountain during the rally, and legally we can't stop them. We have made a attempt to take legal action, however since Bear Butte is a State Park, instead of Federal we are limited on what recourse actions we can take.

In the conversation with the FAA, he stated that there are two additional campgrounds that have contacted him, that will be offering helicopter rides during the rally. He also spoke to them about not flying over Bear Butte as well.

This is now a total of four campgrounds which include; Buffalo Chip, Lamphere Ranch, Ride-N-Rest and Broken Spoke Campgrounds all offering helicopter rides during the Sturgis Rally.
Weather they all stay away from flying over Bear Butte, and listen to the FAA's suggested guidelines or not, will remain the question. The other three have not specifically stated that they would be flying over Bear Butte, but until the rally is over, we wont know for sure. Broken Spoke is now claming that they will not be flying over Bear Butte.

We will believe it when we DON"T see it in all four cases.

However, even if they do not fly over Bear Butte, keep in mind, these campgrounds are all within a few miles of Bear Butte and the noise pollution of all four of these helicopters is going to be horrendous. The Speedway is almost four miles away and we can hear all the noise, when the car races are going on.

This helicopter issue has gotten completely out of control. Weather it is pure coincidence that all of a sudden three additional campgrounds are now offering helicopter rides, and they all got this brainstorm at once. Or, is this the typical show down of these venues, trying to compete and out do each other. Once one offers something, all the others have to jump onboard with the idea.

Take a look at this map and see for yourself all of the encroachment going on around the mountain.

For anyone possibly reading this, that may not be familiar with the ongoing struggle to protect bear butte, please visit our website at

In peace & solidarity,
Tamra Brennan
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Update on Bear Butte issue 7-20-08

Update on Bear Butte issue 7-20-08

The rally is two weeks away and the tents are already up and running in Sturgis. They say with the economy, the rally could be down by half this year. Don't get to excited about this, that is still potentially 250,000 people! Sturgis is normally a community of about 6,500 people, so this influx of people all at once is overwhelming.

With the new developments and issues with Broken Spoke Campground, we are dreading this upcoming rally. They will be offering concerts every night this year. The helicopter issue is still pending. Our organization Protect Sacred Sites and Parks, filed a complaint with FAA, they did make recommendations to BSC to not fly over Bear Butte, and gave them other suggested flight patterns. The challenge is all FAA can do is make suggestions and recommendations, what they say is not mandatory. This makes no sense, believe me I know! We have been working with NARF for legal assistance, they hopefully will be filing a legal letter to Broken Spoke in the next few days about this issue.

Our org submitted a Tribal Resolution to the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association for the protection of Bear Butte and the helicopter issue. They unanimously approved the resolution on July 10th, (Resolution 52-07-10-08) . This will also be submitted to NARF as additional documentation of support for the issue. I will post a copy of the resolution on our website and blog, as soon as I get a digital copy of it, within the next couple days.

We will be walking around each day during the Rally, reaching out to the Biker community about the Bear Butte issue. We are continuing the campaign "Bikers for Bear Butte" and will be passing out the fliers during the rally. Over the past couple months, our organization and volunteers have sent out approximately 5,000-6,000 emails and still counting, the Bikers for Bear Butte flier, to various biker websites, message boards, dealerships, organizations and clubs.

We will be documenting what transpires during the rally, sending out updates during that week.

On a good note, with all the rain we have had, Bear Butte Lake is actually full. It is actually a wildlife refuge, however it hasn't been at this level for about ten years. This is a good thing! I took the picture above last week. Enjoy......

Thank you to everyone that has helped us with getting this info and the fliers out there! Your help is greatly appreciated, we couldn't have gotten all this out without your help!

What's new on Protect Bear Butte website

Detailed timeline summary of Bear Butte issue from 2003 shooting range issue, to today's struggle with the bars.

new design, new pages, new posts to the blog and more............

For up to date info about the ongoing efforts to Protect Bear Butte, visit us at

Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation is a grass roots organization, working towards the protection of sacred sites across the country. Our organization has been actively involved with the ongoing struggle to Protect Bear Butte for several years. We are continuing these efforts, our organization is currently leading the campaign regarding the new developments and further expansions at Bear Butte. Please visit our main website at . We have a dedicated website for the Bear Butte issue at

In peace & solidarity,
Tamra Brennan
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"

Timeline for Bear Butte Issue

Timeline for Bear Butte

February 2003 - The Northern Cheyenne, Rosebud Sioux, Crow Creek Sioux and Yankton Sioux tribes and Defenders of the Black Hills file lawsuit to stop shooting range four miles north of Bear Butte.

During his time in office, Governor Janklow provided faulty information in order to obtain money from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The program also received an illegal grant of $825,000.00 from Housing Urban Development (HUD) program.

January 2004 – Sturgis Industrial Expansion Corp. (SIEC) and the City of Sturgis announce they are abandoning plans to develop shooting range near Bear Butte.

Governor Rounds, now in office and returns the funds to HUD.


August 2005 – Jay Allen announces developing the world’s largest biker bar, calling it “On Sacred Ground” just north of Bear Butte. Also, erecting a 80 foot Indian statue pointing towards the mountain and tipi’s. The property will include a bar, concert venue, restaurant and RV park.

October 2005 – After objections from local tribes and Native people, Jay Allen changes the name of bar from “On Sacred Ground” to “Sturgis County Line”

January 2006 - Paul Valandra, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Jim Bradford, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, sponsor HB1233. The bill would create a four-mile buffer zone around Bear Butte, the bill would prohibit liquor licenses from being issued for establishments around Bear Butte.

February 2006 – House Local Government Committee voted 9-3 to reject HB1233

March 2006 – Jay Allen breaks ground with the new development of Sturgis County Line.

April 4, 2006 – Over 1,000 supporters, both Native and non showed support to protect Bear Butte for the protest gathering held at Meade County Commissioners courthouse.
The Meade County Commissioner’s unanimously voted 5-0 to approve Jay Allen’s liquor license.

May 2006 – Meade County denies submitted petition requesting a county vote on approval of Jay Allen’s liquor license. The Commissioners determined the approval of the license was an "administrative action" therefore, the issue cannot be referred to a vote. More than 750 signatures were collected within Meade County, which was more than enough votes to overturn the Commissioners decision.

July 4, 2006 – Gathering of Nations to Defend Bear Butte encampment begins, running through August 7th.

August 2006 – Sturgis Bike Rally Week. Jay Allen’s Sturgis County Line opens its doors.

Protest walk from Bear Butte encampment to Sturgis is held during the rally. Approximately 500 people are in attendance.

December 2006 – on sale license renewed

June 2007 – Jay Allen’s, Sturgis County Line, off sale license revoked due to poor character, based upon unpaid bills to local contractors. Meade County Commissioner’s warn Allen if bills are not paid, his on sale license in December will be in jeopardy.

August 2007 – 2nd year open for Sturgis County Line.
Two organizations, Protect Sacred Sites, Indigenous People One Nation, BBIA, a few private citizens and Northern Cheyenne’s hosted a prayer camp at the base of Bear Butte on the Northern Cheyenne property off hwy 79. A smaller presence than 2006, is held from August 1st – 15th, during bike week.

December 2007 – Meade County Commissioners revoke Jay Allen’s Sturgis County Line on sale liquor license due to poor character, based upon the continued unpaid bills to local contractors.

Governor Rounds proposes House Bill 1275 to the 2008 state Legislature. This bill would enact a conservation easement for the area around Bear Butte. A request for the state of South Dakota to purchase 743 acres of land that adjoined Bear Butte State Park.

There is hereby appropriated from the general fund the sum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($ 250,000 ), or so much thereof as may be necessary, and five hundred ninety- three thousand seven hundred seventy-seven dollars ($593,777), or so much thereof as may be necessary, of federal fund expenditure authority, and three hundred forty-three thousand seven hundred seventy-seven dollars ($343,777), or so much thereof as may be necessary, of other fund expenditure to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks for a portion of the costs related to the acquisition of easements adjacent to Bear Butte State Park located in Meade County, South Dakota.

January 2008 –Jay Allen appeals revocation of liquor license due the character issues.

February 2008 – Governor Rounds, House Bill 1275 An act to make an appropriation for a portion of the costs related to the acquisition of easements adjacent to Bear Butte State Park and to declare an emergency. FAILS YEAS 24, NAYS 44

April 2008 – Jay Allen’s appeal was held before Judge Bastian, at the Meade County Courthouse. Allen testified he had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, purchase agreement on February 26, 2008 with Target Companies, a travel corporation from Boston, MA. The agreement terms were to be finalized on May 3, 2008. Allen stated upon completion of the agreement, his only role in the Sturgis County Line would be as a promoter, and because he was no longer the owner, his character could not be basis for license revocation. Judge Bastian remanded the decision back to Meade County Commissioners. His instructions asked the Commissioners to reconsider their decision to revoke, based upon the new information that Allen would no longer be the “owner” of Sturgis County Line.

The Meade County Commissioner’s held an Executive Session Meeting on April 24, 2008. They unanimously voted to appeal Judge Bastian’s decision. It has been directed to South Dakota Supreme Court for further clarification, to determine if Judge Bastian had the legal authority to make such a decision. A court date will be scheduled in the upcoming months.

May 2008 – Supreme Court denies appeal, sending it back again to Meade County Commissioners to make final determination.

Target Logistics states they have made a legal decision to “lease” the Broken Spoke Campground property from Jay Allen, until the pending litigation is completed.

June 2008 – Meade County Commissioners defer the Broken Spoke Campground liquor license issue to the July meeting.

Broken Spoke Campground announces they will be hosting concerts every night during the rally and are now offering helicopter rides over Bear Butte during the rally.

Complaints are filed regarding helicopter issue and violation of Native American Freedom of Religion Act, to the FAA by Protect Sacred Sites Organization and South Dakota State Parks. Protect Sacred Sites, submitted a request for legal action and assistance to the Native American Rights Fund.

Request for resolution from NCAI regarding opposition to liquor license issue is requested by Protect Sacred Sites and approved from NCAI. Resolution is submitted to Meade County Commissioners.

July 2008 – Meade County Commissioners approve 3-2, Jay Allen’s previously revoked on sale liquor license. New investors Target Logistics have paid all the previous debts off in full, with the exception of one currently in litigation.

Protect Sacred Sites organization, submits a draft resolution to Greater Plains Tribal Chairs Association, for protection of Bear Butte. Approved by Tribal Chairs on July 10, 2008.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bear Butte bar gets nod for liquor license

Bear Butte bar gets nod for liquor license
By Andrew Gorder, Journal staff Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The 3-2 vote came after about an hour and a half of testimony from representatives of Target Logistics -- a Boston-based company that intends to buy the embattled campground -- and Native Americans, concerned citizens and other activists who support a development buffer or an alcohol ban near Bear Butte.

In recent years, opponents have regularly testified before the commission about their opposition to alcohol near the mountain. It is a sacred landmark and prayer site for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and other Native American tribes.

"I'm really disappointed that the Meade County commissioners did not take all of us into account," said Tamra Brennan, director and founder of grass-roots group Protect Sacred Sites.

The Broken Spoke Campground, formerly known as Sturgis County Line, has been in a fight to renew its on-sale liquor and beer licenses since commissioners voted to deny them last year. The campground, northeast of Sturgis, is within 1-1/2 miles of Bear Butte.

Former owner Jay Allen lost the beer license for his campground last June after commissioners received complaints from local contractors who claimed they had not been paid by Allen.

Alcohol licenses can be denied on the basis of the character of the owner-operator or the location of the venue.

In December, the commission also rejected Allen's renewal application for an on-sale liquor license, again citing unsettled debts with contractors.

Allen appealed the decision, and on April 4, Circuit Court Judge John Bastian ruled the county commission must reconsider its decision because of the proposed change in ownership.

Target Logistics is an international company that provides housing, transportation and hospitality services. It intended to buy controlling interest in the venue several months ago but was leasing the property until the liquor license issue was settled.

Representatives of the firm said that, when the sale is final, Allen will have a 30 percent, noncontrolling interest in the campground.

During Tuesday's hearing, commissioners heard from several character references for David Shue, an employee of Target Logistics and the newly hired managing officer for Sturgis County Line LLC.

Shue, a former director of operations for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, spoke on his own behalf, highlighting his service in Iraq and Afghanistan and promising to be a "good neighbor."

Commissioners also heard from several concerned Meade County residents and Native American activists who urged them to deny the alcohol licenses.

Opponents mainly voiced concerns about the growing size of the campground and its encroachment on Bear Butte. They said they believed the new owners will only continue the expansion.

"The new investors, Target Logistics, have already proceeded with plans for additional development and expansion," Brennan said. "We've had a drought for the last eight years, and here they're building the world's biggest biker pool," she said.

"We love this land, and we don't want anything to happen to it," said Jace DeCory, another concerned resident.

After hearing testimony, Commissioner Dean Wink said he sympathized with opponents but did not agree that the location of the venue was the issue at hand. Wink said most of Allen's debts being settled was reason enough for him approve the license.

"I think that probably shows a good faith effort on the part of Target Logistics, to be a good business for this area," Wink said.

Commissioner Dayle Hammock said he did not feel comfortable with Jay Allen's continued involvement with the company and sponsored a motion to deny the license. That motion failed, and the committee then voted to renew the license.

"They're basically standing behind corporate America," said Brennan, who also said her organization plans to appeal the commission's decision. "We're not done."

In peace & solidarity,
Tamra Brennan
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Corporate America ~vs~ Sacred Sites

Please forward in its entirety.

Press release

Corporate America ~vs~ Sacred Sites
Decision on Bear Butte issue 7-1-08
written by: Tamra Brennan

On July 1st, 2008 the Meade County Commissioners voted 3 - 2 to approve Jay Allen's liquor license, for the Broken Spoke Campground located at Bear Butte.

There were two separate issues discussed regarding liquor license applications. The initial license for Jay Allen, which was revoked on December 5, 2007, appealed in January, then remanded back to the Meade County Commissioners by Judge Bastian on April 14, 2008. Meade County Commissioners appealed the judges decision, in June the South Dakota Supreme Court, denied the appeal, again sending it back to Meade County Commissioners.

The second issue was the new liquor license application filed by David Shoe, General Manager for the new investors Target Logistics, Broken Spoke Campground LLC.

Target Logistics has paid off all of Jay Allen's outstanding debts for Broken Spoke Campground, LLC with the exception of one that is currently in litigation. They have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, into this place already. Jim Seward attorney for Target Logistics also stated that Jay Allen still owns 30% of the stock, which contradicts everything that they have testified to previously, which was that Jay Allen is no longer involved. These people change their story at every hearing.

Target Logistics Corporation showed up at the hearing with 12-15 suits, including the CEO, various attorneys and military personnel. They spent a hour of the hearing testifying about military issues, and praising David Shoe, since he was previously involved in Blackwater, had been in Afganstitan and Iraq and apparently has secret service clearance, even today. They actually brought previous military personnel here to testify on behalf of David Shoe's character, for a liquor license at a bar located at Bear Butte.

They used the war, they used the military service to gain sympathy and support from the Meade County Commissioners, to acquire the license license.

Does anyone see the irony here? Can someone please explain what the military has to do with a bar, at a sacred site and what they are doing here?

The supporters for the Bear Butte issue were sitting listening to this testimony, wondering what any of this had to do, with Meade County and a bar at Bear Butte?
Several people stood up and questioned these statements and motives.

Jack Doyle, a local Meade County resident continually testify's against our side, and always includes disgusting and racist comments, stated "Indians do not own Bear Butte mountain, they are their as guests, if its not suitable for them they can go somewhere else."

Another local, life long resident and Bear Butte supporter stood up and addressed the Commissioners and Target Logistics, stated she felt that Target Logistics was making a bad business decision, and they obviously had not done a business marketing analysis, that there have been two local campgrounds go bankrupt over this past two years, maybe they should go invest in one of the bankrupt campgrounds, there is one available in Whitewood. She received a huge applaud from the Bear Butte supporters.

I did record the hearing and will be cutting it down, its a hour and a half, once I get that done, I will be posting it on our new blog talk radio show. It should be up within the next day. I will send out a link, once it is up and running. It will also be posted on our website

Because it was the appealed license that was approved, I am going to be doing some checking and see what actions, if any, that we can take next to appeal this decision.

Needless to say, this is simply another case of Corporate America ~vs~ Native American people and sacred sites, and we lost, yet again.

In peace & solidarity,
Tamra Brennan
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation

"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"