News Item: Indian groups plan protests during Sturgis biker week
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by MJF
Wednesday 03 May 2006 - 20:36:20

Associated Press

Indian groups plan protests during Sturgis biker week

STURGIS, S.D. - American Indian groups upset at commercial expansion toward Bear Butte during the Sturgis motorcycle rally say they will stage daily demonstrations during this year's rally.

Their commitment came Tuesday after the Meade County Commission approved a liquor license transfer for a new concert venue, Rock'n the Rally at Glencoe CampResort.

Last month, the commission approved a beer license for the Broken Spoke Saloon and Sturgis County Line campground.

Both enterprises would be about 3 miles from Bear Butte, which is a sacred site to a number of tribes.

Carter Camp of the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte and Jay Red Hawk of the Bear Butte International Alliance said the demonstrations during the Sturgis rally will be peaceful.

The groups also are organizing a large, summerlong gathering at Bear Butte that could draw as many as 10,000 people, Camp said.

Camp said the groups will ask bikers to voluntarily honor a buffer zone around Bear Butte, staying away from the rally campgrounds, saloons and concert venues east of Fort Meade Veteran's Affairs Hospital. He believes some bikers will side with the groups.

"We're not trying to shut down the rally," Camp said. "We know the rally has an economic impact on the state; we just want a buffer around Bear Butte."

On Wednesday, the Meade County auditor said enough valid petitions had been submitted to refer the Broken Spoke beer license approval to a public vote.

The county commission can schedule an election or determine that granting the license is an administrative act that can't be referred to a vote, the state's attorney told the commission Wednesday.

Tempers occasionally flared at Tuesday's hearing on the liquor license application by Gary Lippold.

Commissioners imposed a 30-minute time limit for each side, but only a fraction of the opponents had spoken as the time limit expired.

At one point, Sheriff Ron Merwin stood between the commissioners and a number of angry people who were still waiting to testify when the time limit expired.

Lippold told the county commissioners that he needs to serve liquor for the hospitality tents and VIP tents that would draw the upscale crowds he needs to make the venue a success. He is paying the county $500,000 for the liquor license.

"I can't sell enough booze in 10 lifetimes in (10 days per year) to pay for this liquor license," he told the commissioners. But with the license, he said he will be able to draw upscale crowds and stage country music festivals at other times of the year. He vowed to do everything possible to mitigate the noise and other effects on Bear Butte.

Opponents talked at length about Bear Butte and its role in American Indian culture.

Nancy Hilding of Black Hawk said South Dakota law bars liquor sales on Sunday morning out of respect for Christians but that Indians are denied the same protection of their religion.

Information from: Rapid City Journal,

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