Thunder Butte, in South Dakota, has featured prominently in my family's history since 1913. Also known as "Wakinyan Paha" to the Lakota, its religious and cultural significance to the Lakota goes back much further in time, still. Rising from the dry, rolling prairie grasslands in Ziebach County, in northwestern South Dakota, the butte is located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
From the top of the butte, you can see for miles in every direction. There are not many people here, although the land is alive with the memory of those who walked here before us. Taking in the quiet of the plains as they reach to the horizon, you can well imagine the way the world was before we were here, and what it may look like long after we have moved on.
Create Your Badge
Cheyenne River Lakota Nation
Who links to me?
Ziebach County History (USGenWeb)
Ziebach County Historical Society
South Dakota Office of Tourism
State of South Dakota
South Dakota Magazine
Faith, South Dakota
Faith Chamber of Commerce
Dupree, South Dakota
Town of Isabel
Timber Lake, South Dakota
Timber Lake Historical Society
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Defenders of the Black Hills
Owl Tipi Art
May 08, 2005
Plenty of Wild Fish on the Prairie
Gene Crowley was about five years old the first summer nine year old Tony Roach came to stay with the family. Tony was an Indian boy who wandered over to visit one day. He stayed for dinner and then supper before Mayme asked if his folks wouldn’t be worrying about him. Tony said, “No, they went to Cherry Creek for the powwows. They probably won’t be back until the Fall.” The family wasn’t about to put him out to fend for himself, so he stayed that whole summer with the Crowleys.
One day, after a big rain, Gene and his new pal Tony were were riding a couple of old cow ponies south of Thunder Butte Creek. Gene noticed that the mud puddles on the prairie were swarming with what looked like minnows—little fish. He asked Tony what they were and Tony told him that they were “wild fish.” Since you don’t see fish out on the open range every day, especially wild ones in mud puddles, Gene jumped off his horse and started stuffing all of his pockets with fish. When the boys got back to the Crowley place, Mayme made Gene empty his pockets, and the now lifeless fish spilled out. Of course, they weren’t fish, after all. Mayme explained what pollywogs were, and how they come to inhabit mud puddles after a good rain.
After that first summer, Tony was with the Crowleys much of the time for the next three or four years. Tony and Gene always remained great friends as they were growing up, even though Tony sometimes pulled Gene’s leg with tall tales about the prairie wildlife.
Mike Crowley Sunday, May 08, 2005