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Spirit Mound, Vermillion

Spirit Mound Historic Prairie is a state park of South Dakota, USA, featuring a prominent hill on the Great Plains. The Plains Indians of the region considered Spirit Mound the home of dangerous spirits or little people; members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition climbed it on August 25, 1804. The park was established in 2002. It is located about 6.5mi north of Vermillion, South Dakota.
Stories and religious beliefs about "Little People" are common to many if not most Native American tribes in the West. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition stayed for a time with a band of Wičhíyena Sioux on the Vermillion River in modern-day South Dakota. On August 25, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and 10 other men traveled about north of the river's junction with the Missouri River to see the "mountain of the Little People". Lewis wrote in his journal that the Little People were "deavals" (devils) with very large heads, about 18in high, and very alert to any intrusions into their territory. The Sioux said that the devils carried sharp arrows which could strike at a very long distance, and that they killed anyone who approached their mound. The Little People so terrified the local population, Lewis reported, that the Maha (Omaha), Ottoes (Otoe), and Sioux would not go near the place. The Lakota people who came to live near the "Spirit Mound" after the Wičhíyena Sioux have a story no more than 250 years old which describes how a band of 350 warriors came near the mound late at night and were nearly wiped out by the ferocious Little People (the survivors were crippled for life).
Take a look at our Vermillion trip planning site to schedule your visit to Spirit Mound and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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  • Spirit Mound stands tall in the flat ancient Missouri river valley. Lewis and Clark noted Spirit Mound in their travels. It also has significance to Native Americans. The hike up the mound is a little...  more »
  • I went there less that two weeks ago and the view was great and you can see for miles and miles and of scenery. I would definitely recommended it!  more »

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