Text of marker
Thar's gold in them thar hills!
The Black Hills Gold Rush
1874: Two scientists attached to the Custer Expedition
uncover gold in sacred Sioux land in South Dakota -- and the Black Hills Gold
Rush is on.
During the Allison Commission in 1875, the Sioux refused to sell their
reservation to the U.S. government. This territory, known as the Dakotas,
had been assured to them in the Treaty of 1868. But the government,
despite promises to the contrary, could not discourage prospectors from invading
once word of gold leaked out. By 1876, thousands of fortune hunters were
in the Black Hills and another round of war with the Sioux had begun.
Sidney was already an established trailhead for shipping goods to the
Nebraska Indian agencies. From 1876 to 1881, the Sidney-Blackhills Trail
carried much of the traffic, supplies and good to and from the Back Hills mining
towns. During 1878 to 1879 alone, over 22 million pounds of freight moved
along the trail--and some $200,000 in gold shipments moved south to Sidney to
Today, the trail offers a different kind of riches--panoramic views,
unique geology, fascinating museums and attractions, national forests, out door
recreation and friendly communities.
The heart of everything that is.
1877: Paha Sapa is sacred land of the Lakota that the white
man has named Black Hills. We never lived in this place. It is the
womb of Mother Earth--the rightful home of birds and animals. We came here
only for ceremonies, vision quests and burials. The lightning over the
hills in the spirits of fallen warriors.
We fought bravely to keep white settlers from taking our sacred lands.
Their army built forts to protect their people as they traveled through our
In 1868, the great Oglala Chief Red Cloud signed a treaty at Fort Laramie
saying that Paha Sapa belonged to the Lakota. There wuold be no white
settlers in our sacred land. Their army would enforce the treaty and keep
our lands free of white settlement.
But when Yellow Hair (General George Custer) discovered gold in Paha Sapa,
their government wanted to buy our land from us. When we refused, their
soldiers left--and our land was no longer protected from thousands who came to
seek fortune and claim our land for themselves.
Again, we fought to protect what was ours. Our great victory against
Yellow Hair at Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn) led their soldiers to move onto the
reservation and take our guns and horses. Many of the Great Sioux Nation
fled to Canada.
Cold and hungry, most Lakota eventually returned to the reservations--but
we still refused to sell or rent our lands. Now the U.S. Congress has
created a new agreement to seize our lands without our consent.
Our buffalo are almost gone. Our people are starving. Brave
leaders such as Crazy Horse are dead. I fear that the Great Sioux National
is to be no more.
Paha Sapa, once the heart of everything that is, has also become a place
that makes our hearts ache for the life we once shared as a proud people.
The marker also has a map showing the attraction in the area and a listing of