Good Earth, One Spirit or Blood Run?

If I had to choose the name for the newest state park in South Dakota, I’d stick with Blood Run.

It’s vivid and memorable without being offensive.

The site southeast of Sioux Falls has long been called Blood Run, with its rich history of indigenous people _ the Oneota Indians before 1200 followed by the Omaha, Ponca, Ioway and Oto. Legend says the name Blood Run comes from white settlers who called the area that because of the iron-rich rocks that leached into the stream. Pipestone is sacred to Native people.

In any case, the site wasn’t a bloody battle ground but more of a gathering place, a vibrant place that remains a sanctuary of stunning beauty and a burial grounds for native people.

There are other examples of vivid names in the state such as Enemy Swim Lake in northeastern South Dakota and the Badlands in the western part of the state. They’re strong names that are unique to our state and its people and culture.

Some think the name Good Earth was a consensus with the state and tribes in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska which have ties to the area. But other Native people say they didn’t agree to the name Good Earth State Park at Blood Run and preferred One Spirit.

Good Earth and One Spirit are harmonious names, respectful of important native culture. They’re not bad or wrong, but they just don’t carry the vibrancy of Blood Run. Since the area has been called that for years, let’s keep it.

State lawmakers are trying to make a decision during this legislative session. What would you call it?