Devils Tower Issue

Hannah Murray and Nick Lapointe

Native Americans from several tribes found the Devil’s Tower long before climbers, therefore they consider it a sacred site. Many Native Americans seem to believe climbers have no respect for their culture and say climbing on or near the monument counts as desecrating the site.

Four main topics:

-Why Native Americans?

Native Americans believe Devil’s Tower to be a sacred site because they found it long before climbers and hikers started using it for recreational activity. Many Native American’s use Devil’s Tower for prayer offerings, funerals and they even go as far as to have group sun dances. The only ancient ritual not performed at Devil’s Tower today would be funerals. “Over twenty tribes have a cultural affiliation with Devil’s Tower.”

What is Devil’s Tower

-Devil’s Tower is located in Northwestern, Wyoming. This so called tower is actually a large climbing rock with many different routes. The tower is best characterized by its large cracks which the native Americans believe to have come from a large bear which climbed up it many, many years ago. Climbers and hikers love to use it because of it is a great challenge for them.

What is it about? Law wise

Many climbers in Wyoming argue that allowing a worship month for the native american tribes is unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause, and therefore think that the loose ban against climbing Devils Tower during the month of June should not be there.

Cultural aspect vs. physical aspect

Cultural aspect vs. physical aspect- The Native Americans see Devils Tower as a sacred place, with many different legends that surround the rock formation. Many of the tribes that find the area sacred gave it names other than Devils Tower, like Bears Tipi and Tree Rock. The physical aspect of the formation gives the climbers of the world a large challenge to take on, and climbing the mountain is seen as an achievement depending on where you are climbing.

MLA Citations:

“How is Devils Tower a Sacred Site to American Indians.” Nps. np. Aug. 1994.

“Native American Sacred Site: Battle for Protection.” Jurgita Saltanaviciute. May, 2000. January 26, 2015

Brainstorming Solutions:

#1 Build scale model of Devils Tower

#2 Give tower back to the Devil

#3 Share it-

Ex. If the Native Americans have an event going on at the tower then it should be closed down by the government

Ex. Three day of the week can be set aside for the Native American activities three days are given to the climbers to do whatever they please and then sunday is a shared day for both climbers and Natives

#4 Blow up Devils Tower- nobody can have it, out of sight out of mind

#5 Send Devils tower to another country

Solution and plan:

Three day of the week can be set aside for the Native American activities three days are given to the climbers to do whatever they please and then Sunday is a shared day for both climbers and natives

We understand the climbers and natives have never gotten along, but with a government instituted plan the idea of sharing can change. If someone does not like it then oh well, they can be banned from the tower.

If they want to become friends, natives should welcome climbers to join into their activities.

Step by Step:

  1. Government issues an explanation of the new deal to give to everyone
  2. Officials hand the paper out to the natives, if they have a village then post a blown up version of notice in front of the rock
  3. Have a celebration for the new friendship of natives and climbers
  4. Start issuing the new plan after everyone is aware of what is going on
  5. If anyone disagrees, they can go to a different rock

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