Deadwood/Sheridan

Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
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Trip End Aug 29, 2013


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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Sunday, August 18, 2013

     This morning we departed Rapid City and headed to Tatanka. The word Tatanka is a Lakota word meaning "bull buffalo". Tatanka is an educational center created by Kevin Costner to educate people about the Lakota culture. Bison were the basis of life for Plains Indians, providing spiritual inspiration, food, clothing, shelter, household items, tools, weapons, and ceremonial items. Plains Indians had over 100 uses for the various parts.
     While at Tatanka I saw the actual Tipis used in the film "Dancing with Wolves". To make a tipi, buffalo hides were soaked in the brains of the animal as a lubricant to make the fibers of the hide pliable after they dried. This is known as “brain-tanning.” Since there was no thread, native people sewed with “sinew,” or long fibers from muscles located close to the spine, which were shredded into long, thin strips. I learned that the Lakota's hunting method was to herd bison toward a precipice, or buffalo jump. Hunters working together could spook bison, getting them to stampede over a hidden drop off. Running bison, with no hint about the change in the lay of the land, raced toward certain death. People waiting at the bottom of the jump butchered the animals after they fell.
     From Tatanka we headed into Deadwood which is where gold was discovered in 1875. The town received it's name due to the dead pines that covered the hillsides. The Gulch was in the heart of land designated by the United States government to be Lakota Sioux land in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Nevertheless, shacks and tents soon filled the slopes as prospectors poured into Deadwood Gulch, with population estimates ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 people, mostly men. By the summer of 1876, western legends Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane had made their way into the mining camp.
     For lunch I ate at Midnight Jack, which is owned by Kevin Costner. Throughout the place there is memorabilia from all his movies. Then we traveled almost 200 miles to Sheridan, Wyoming. Looks like the town still enforces the Blue Laws because all the stores were closed.
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