Medicine Rock

Medicine Rock

Sacred to the Native People who lived here, this huge limestone rock contains footprints and hand prints said to have been left there by the Creator.
It was a site of meditation (see the famous Edward Curtis photo in the Library of Congress) and prayer.
The Medicine Rock was located at the mouth of the Cheyenne Creek, but now lies under water, when the Missouri River was dammed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1958, in defiance of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, to form Lake Oahe, site of the recent protests at Standing Rock.
This Medicine Rock was removed entirely in 1954 to a town called Gettysburg, 15 miles to the east, to a place called the Medicine Rock Cafe (I ate there today, not bad). But tourists defaced it, so the town of Gettysburg moved it again to West Commercial Street and built a museum around it.
Hunkpapa Sioux artist Del Iron Cloud painted the mural behind the rock.
The footprints and handprints can still be clearly seen.
Richard Hammond, University of South Dakota Geologist, analyzed samples of the rock and determined it was millions of years old, and was probably brought here by glaciers from Manitoba. But he could not offer an opinion as to how the prints came to be embedded in the limestone.


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