Tribal Relations

The Black Hills is sacred to around 12 tribes. The Forest Service works closely with tribes throughout the area to honor these sacred areas.  
Bearlodge District Ranger Steve Kozel asks Lakota leaders for ideas about how to protect sacred Inyan Kara Mountain on the Black Hills National Forest's western boundary in Wyoming near the place where General George Armstrong Custer first entered the Black Hills with the 7th Cavalry in the summer of 1874.  Crazy Horse was said to have buried some of the dead from the Battle of the Little Big Horn in the talus slopes of the mountain after the Battle in 1876.



An American Indian woman speaks to the crowd at a tribal relations meetingAnother sacred area is the Black Elk Wilderness in the center of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.  The 13,605-acre wilderness was named for Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota holy man.  Congress established the wilderness on December 22, 1980; legislation in 2002 increased its size by 3,774 acres.