Souvenir Map of the Black Hills of South Dakota


Pictorial map of the Black Hills, the cultural heartland of the Sioux.

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Hidden behind the fun illustrations and bright colors of this map is a darker story about the shameful treatment of the Native American inhabitants. The Black Hills received their name from the Sioux tribes who inhabited the region after defeating the Cheyenne, and comes from the dark tops of the mountains, which are covered in trees. In 1868, the Treat of Ft. Laramie established the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri, essentially barring all future white settlement from the sacred land.

However, the discovery of gold in 1874 led the government to renege on the treaty and force the sale of over 9 million acres to industrial interests. After decades of exploiting natural resources, primarily mineral ore and timber, tourism and hospitality began to drive the economy of the Black Hills. It is these industries that are on full display on this pictorial map, which does its best to remove any trace of prior native inhabitancy outside of a few stereotypical illustrations and token place names. Transportation routes, ranging in quality from paved to dirt roads, are boldly shown in red, while a small text box expounds upon the easy connection to nearby large cities. Well known locations like Deadwood, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore and the Petrified Forest are illustrated pictorially, with the surrounding imagery a blend of frontier nostalgia and modern interests.

The conflict between Native and white settlement persists to this day. In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken by the federal government, and awarded the Sioux Nations over $100 million dollars. They refused to accept, as taking the money would represent a formal acknowledgement of U.S. land ownership. The money remains in an interest bearing account, and is currently worth over $1.5 billion.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1940

Author: K. Pyle

Sheet Width (in): 18.25

Sheet Height (in): 26.25

Condition: A

Condition Description: The map is in excellent condition, with fold lines as issued. The only defect is remnants of the original paper covers attached to the verso.