Devil's Tower - What is it?
Devil’s Tower is an igneous intrusion or laccolith or put simply it is the core of a volcano exposed from erosion. It is located in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It protrudes dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 5,112 feet (1,558 m) above sea level.
Devils Tower has the distinction of being the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha).
As a Park, people can visit the park and are able to walk a 1.3 mile paved trail that encircles the tower or visit the prairie dog town just inside the park.
Devil's Tower in Native American Folk Lore - The Pleiades
The Tower is sacred to several Native American Plains tribes, including the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Kiowa. There are different variations of a Bear theme which gives rise the the name of 'Bear Mountain or Bear tower'.Many Native American legends have been passed down through time, but this legend seems to be the most popular.
In the oral traditions of the Sioux and the Kiowa the story of the Tower begins with a tribe camped at the base of what is now the Tower. Seven girls were playing some distance from the campsite when they were surprised by a bear which began to chase them. Running wildly through the forest, the seven girls realised that the bear would catch them before they reached the safety of their camp. Desperate,the girls jumped upon a rock about three feet high and began to pray to the rock, "Rock, take pity on us; Rock, save us."
The rock heard the pleas of the young girls and rapidly started to expand upwards, pushing them higher and higher and out of reach of the bear. The bear frustrated bear jumped at the sides of the rock and clawed at it until it broke it's claws and fell to the ground. The bear continued to jump at the rock until the girls were pushed up into the sky.
The seven girls became the seven stars of the Pleiades star system and the marks of the bear are still visible on the side of the tower.