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Lakota Country Times: 'Dignity' sculpture honors tribal cultures






The "Dignity" sculpture was created by Dale Lamphere, South Dakota Artist Laureate. Photo from Facebook

South Dakota’s New Lady, is Dignity
By Tom Crash
Lakota Country Times Correspondent
lakotacountrytimes.com

CHAMBERLAIN – Saturday, September 17, on the Missouri River bluffs outside of Chamberlain, just 150 feet from I-90, Dignity, a 50 foot stainless steel sculpture of a Lakota woman wrapped with a quilt was dedicated.

A group of over 300 people including Governor Dennis Daugaard, sculptor Dale Lamphere, financial benefactors Norm and Eunabel McKie and state senator Troy Heinert helped honor and celebrate a new addition to the South Dakota landscape.

Norm and Eunabel McKie contributed $1 million as a payback to the state that they loved. "We wanted to give something to the state of South Dakota in recognition of the Lakota and Dakota people and Native cultures that are a part of South Dakota’s identity,"they stated.

“The sculpture stands as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that we are in a sacred place, that we are all sacred; the diamonds will move like aspen leaves in the wind, the sculpture will be a beacon of hope,” said Dale Lamphere, who has been sculpting for the last 45 years, “I am humbled and so grateful to contribute to the future landscape of South Dakota and the great plains.”

The 50 foot sculpture of a Lakota woman wrapped in a star quilt is made of stainless steel with graphite used as the diamonds in the star quilt. It was a vision that came together over a space of 10 years, the actual construction took 10 months.

"We wanted to bridge the culture gap in the area, we wanted it to be culturally correct, we used three models from the region, one from Rosebud, one from Standing Rock and one from the Black Hills region," added Lamphere.

“It is just amazing to see a project like this come to life,” said Dollie Red Elk, a member of the Lakota Sewing Circle in Rapid City who assisted with the star quilt design.


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Millions of travelers every year on I-90 will be able to see the new addition to the landscape of the state. With the help of Robertson Engineering of Rapid City, the sculpture was built to withstand winds up to 120 mph.

“She was sent here to open our hearts and minds, her outstretched arms are inviting us into her blanket where we can learn from each other, acknowledge our differences and celebrate our similarities,” said Troy Heinert, South Dakota state senator from Rosebud.

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