Tatanka, the story of the bison

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Best Western Sheridan Center
What I did
Visited the gold mining town of Lead

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Sunday, May 13, 2012

 
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15 bisons being chased over a cliff by 3 Native Americans 
 
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MAY 13
After two nights in Rapid City, we proceeded to Deadwood, the town created by the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874.  Wild Bill Hickok was one of those who came to seek his fortune, but was shot down during a poker game just a short few weeks after his arrival.  

We first stopped at Tatanka, The Story of the Bisons, established by Kevin Costner.   The center tells the story of the bison of the plains during the 1820's to today.   Tatanka is a Lakota word which means "bull buffalo."    But it meant more than that to the Lakota, because every part of the buffalo was used by the tribes.   The whites began mass killing of the bison to make money from the hides and to drive the buffalo to extinction to run the tribes out and to take over the land for themselves.   A few people saved about 1,000 of the animals from slaughter, and the herds have now been rebuilt to 400,000 of today, and are primarily on private reserves and ranches.

Kevin Costner said at the grand opening of Tatanka, "I believe today that this place is bigger than the dream I had for it.  What it means to anyone that will come here to be up to them. Tatanka was not designed as the white man's version of the Native American.  Rather it stands as a centerpiece for two cultures, one whose very lives depended on the buffalo and one who saw it as a means to an end.  It recognizes and accepts that this is our mutual history.  It can also represent a chance to move forward."

After Tatanka, we visited the town of Deadwood made famous by the gold rush.
We were provided with a quick coach tour of Deadwood before being dropped off at Kevin Costner's Midnight Star casino and cafe where most of us had lunch.

DEADWOOD  
 

 
 
 
 
 

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Our next stop was at Lead, SD, the location of the biggest gold mine in North America, and it closed in 2002.
The Homestake Gold Mine was founded during the gold rush of 1876.  In June of 1877, George Hearst, bought the four and a half acre claim for $70,000.  He and his wife had one son, William Randolph Hearst, who managed his father's newspaper business, the San Francisco Examiner, and later expanded into New York City and Chicago. Unfortunately, he was a racial bigot and spoke out against minorities and Japanese-Americans before and during WWII.   William Randolph Hearst later became a pioneer in radio and television industries.   Citizen Kane (played by Orson Welles) was based on him which became a classic.   

 
 
 
 
 
 

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