Forest Service And Tribes Sign MOU On Pactola/He Sapa Visitor Center


      The U-S Forest Service and 5 of South Dakota’s Native American Tribes, including the Oglala Sioux, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formalizes co-stewardship of the Pactola/ He Sapa Visitor Center in the Black Hills.

      Under the agreement, the Forest Service will provide space for the Lakota and Dakota tribes to share their perspectives, stories and cultural histories with the 40,000 people who come each year to the Visitor Center at Pactola Reservoir.

        Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Shawn Cochran says among the first moves will be revamping existing interpretation displays to be more focused on tribal heritage and tribal cultural aspects.” 

     Cochran calls it “just the first step in co-stewardship with the region’s tribal nations,” adding that the Forest Service is always looking for more ways to work with the tribes. 

      Standing Rock Sioux Chairwoman Janet Alkire says the agreement is “truth and compassion – the truth of our people and the stories and the original inhabitants of this land” which will now be shared with future generations from both sides.

       Acting Forest Service Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Steve Lohr calls the Pactola agreement “a great example” of how co-stewardship agreements can work and of what can be done when tribes and government entities work together.” 

     Lohr says it’s going to provide a long-standing, interpretive opportunity for tribes to tell their story to the public and to their own youth, and really highlight the historic culture of the tribes in the Black Hills.” 

      The other three tribes who signed the Memorandum of Understanding are the Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes