Sacred Ground

Limited Edition Print on Canvas

32″ x 48″ | $750

 To the Indians, the area was called the “summit of the world” due to the area’s unusual elevation, the “River of the Yellow Rock” in reference to the mineral deposits in the earth, and even the “Water That Keeps On Coming Out” describing the great geyser basins.  We call it Yellowstone and hold it in the same kind of awe and wonder as the ancients did.  Surrounded by a number of different tribes including the Crow, Shoshoni, Blackfeet, and Bannock, Yellowstone provided not only bison meat but obsidian, paint pigments, and medicinal minerals to those who would venture into the rarely traveled territory.   

Although a very small segment of the Shoshoni tribe lived in what’s known as the park area all year round, most Indians are said to have avoided Yellowstone considering it an “abode of evil spirits” where they “heard loud noises like thunder” and where “the earth trembled” making it “thus clear to them that the spirits living there did not want men around”.  Still, there are accounts of those brave few that offered sacrifices to appease the spirits before entering the region and still others that sought out spirit power or guardian spirits there.   

Other legends of the Plateau and Basin tribes tell of Water Monsters who were responsible for the creation of the hot springs and geysers.  These Water Spirits could be benevolent, accepting the offerings of little children’s discarded teeth or they could be evil, stealing unguarded babies at night and pulling people into rivers and lakes.   Such water nymphs were depicted as small, fragile, females with long hair and were sometimes regarded as the messengers to the Lower World. 

     Are these women then, clothed in traditional Crow beaded blankets, visitors to a place that they hold in a mixture of reverence and fear as they gaze upon the awesome sights of the Geyser Basin?  Or are they actually some sort of sirens overlooking their own handiwork?  

     Whichever the interpretation, the one thing that all people agree upon is that the incredible expanse known as Yellowstone National Park is indeed sacred Ground. 

The Ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood our ancestors.  

Plenty Coups (Crow) 

God made this region for all the people and all the world to see and enjoy forever…. let us make a public park of it and it aside, never to be changed, but to be kept sacred always.”    

 Cornelius Hedges (explorer)