The history of the Black Hills goes back thousands of years and has significant meaning to indigenous people. In 2015, the Sanford Underground Research Facility built the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center to commemorate the city of Lead, South Dakota, and its rich mining history, while highlighting today’s scientific discoveries.
Now, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) is taking a step to recognize the diversity of the many peoples who have and do call this place home. We are creating an ethnobotanical garden, Cangleska Wakan, to enhance understanding of the Indigenous cultures of the Black Hills, or He Sapa.
The garden will connect visitors with SURF’s underground science through the lens of Native ways of knowing science. The site’s future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity and cultural and Native events for learners of all ages.
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Protect. Respect. Understand.
Traditional Lakota values show respect for the land and all living creatures—never taking more than what is needed and making use of anything harvested or hunted. Cangleska Wakan will represent this connectedness of and respect for all things, while serving as an area to reflect on our shared connection to the earth.
At SURF, we work to protect our natural environment and cultural heritage. To date, SURF adheres to strict recycling procedures; ensures that rock extracted from the Black Hills remains in the Black Hills; and has one of the best wastewater treatment facilities in the region, a system that helped rejuvenate Gold Run Creek in the 1980s. Cangleska Wakan represents SURF’s next steps in protecting our environment and serves as a reminder to maintain sustainable relationships with all living things.
The Sacred Circle Garden will connect visitors with SURF’s underground science through the lens of Native ways of knowing science. The site’s future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity and a range of cultural events for learners of all ages. As SURF welcomes scientific collaborators from around the world, the garden will serve as a gateway to this unique region.