Devils Tower, a geological marvel in Wyoming, formed around 50 million years ago and was designated as the first U.S. national monument in 1906. However, its significance extends beyond geology, as it holds profound cultural and spiritual importance for Native American tribes such as the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. Known as “Mato Tipila” to the Lakota Sioux, it is a sacred site where legends tell of a young girl saved from a bear by the Great Spirit, leading to the tower’s creation. Various tribes conduct religious ceremonies and vision quests here, and collaborative efforts with the National Park Service aim to preserve its cultural significance while allowing limited public access, highlighting the importance of safeguarding both natural wonders and indigenous cultural heritage.
How the tower got its name: 0:29
First national monument: 1:26
Native American myths: 1:51
Climbing the tower: 3:05
Lakota vs Sioux myths: 4:35