- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - University officials at a college in western South Dakota have named a renovated hillside on campus “Oyate Wicaka Wita,” a Lakota name meaning “People or Nation Gathering Place.”

The Black Hills Pioneer (https://bit.ly/2p0s9IJ) reported that Black Hills State University President Tom Jackson Jr. said naming the hillside connects the school to the Spearfish community and to the Lakota heritage of the Black Hills.

“It’s a special gift to get and give a name,” said Jace DeCory, associate professor of history and American Indian Studies. “As the name Oyate Wicaka Wita is in reference to a place that pulls the people or nation to it, like a magnet, and they feel good about being there, we hope this hillside will pull the people here to spend time at this university and in this place.”

During a ceremony last month, some of DeCory’s relatives smudged and purified the area with sage in a traditional Lakota blessing. Tobacco and water was placed at the base of a tree on the hillside to represent life, thanksgiving and blessings.

Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke praised the university for creating access points to the world by providing experiences and growth opportunities to students.

The new sidewalk and landscaping added a walkway and bike path to the university entrance.

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com


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