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Native Sun News Today: Lakota artist Rex Carolin designs 'Water is Life' tipi






The ‘Water is Life’ tipi before handprints were placed on it. Photo by Rex Carolin

Handprints on the ‘Water is Life’ tipi
By Rita Weatherbee
For the Native Sun News Today
nativesunnews.today

“Water is Life” or Mni Wiconi is the theme of the latest tipi project that Rex (Wambli Sapa) Carolin, a Lakota artist and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, designed and painted recently.

In November, attendees at the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Gene Autry Festival in Los Angeles were invited to place their handprint on the bold, blue background of the tipi, which represents the element of water, of major significance in Native culture.

Carolin chose to use red paint for the handprints, as it represents the “Strength” of the people. While on display, the tipi quickly became filled inside and out with red handprints of men, women and children as young as six months old who wanted to show their support to those protecting the water for today and generations to come.

Thousands of Indian people and supporters have been near Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Reservation for several months protecting the water of the Missouri River against what they consider the black snake (DAPL-Dakota Access Pipeline), which they feel threatens water and land for them and for millions of people downstream.


Saginaw Grant, a Native actor, Korean War veteran, dancer and motivational speaker placed his handprint at the Gene Autry Festival. Photo by Rex Carolin

“I get emotional when I think of the meaning behind this tipi and the black snake prophecy and about the people who willingly placed their hand print on it in support of the project. Some people have asked what I plan to do with the tipi. I have been advised to continue to display it at upcoming events and arts festivals, so I plan to do that to continue to bring awareness to the issue that “Water is Life” and that we should all do what we can to protect it,” said Carolin. “I was honored to have Saginaw Grant, a Native actor, Korean War veteran; dancer and motivational speaker stop by the tipi at the Gene Autry event and place his hand print.”

InterTribal Buffalo Council of Rapid City supported the tipi project to be displayed next to their own tipi and booth at INFR and the Gene Autry Museum. The tipi will again be displayed Jan. 14, 2017, in Litchfield, Ariz., along with other shows throughout the year.


Find more news on the Native Sun News Today website: Handprints on the ‘Water is Life’ tipi

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