Native Sun News: First Nations Sculpture Garden breaks ground

The following story was written and reported by Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (left) and Mayor Steve Allender at the blessing ceremony for the First Nations Sculpture Garden (FNSG) project at Halley Park in the heart of Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Jesse Abernathy

First Nations Sculpture Garden breaks ground
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

RAPID CITY –– The vision of having a place that immortalizes in bronze four iconic figures -- Charles Eastman, Vine Deloria Jr., Oscar Howe and Nicolas Black Elk -- who left their indelible mark on Native history, medicine, religion, philosophy, art, law and public policy is one step closer to becoming a reality.

A ground breaking ceremony for the First Nations Sculpture Garden was held last Thursday, August 20, in Halley Park, on ground once held in trust by Native Americans living in and around Sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills).

“What an exciting day! Another milestone for the First Nations Sculpture Garden, and another step closer to installation,” said Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a Dakota from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. “Thank you to all who helped and attended the project’s groundbreaking ceremony at 515 West Boulevard in Rapid City today. Rapid City will be proud of our garden.”

Groundbreaking at the First Nations Sculpture Garden in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo from Facebook

Cook-Lynn, president of First Nations Sculpture Garden, Inc. believes this place should not only remind onlookers of the contributions of these men, but should also serve as a reminder of indigenous connections to Sacred He Sapa (Black Hills).

“We hope that this project will help this community to understand who we are,” said Cook-Lynn. “We have always been here, and our mythology and our religion tells us that.”

Respected local philanthropist, Jim Scull, CEO of Scull Construction Service Inc. who pledged support for the project, will soon begin laying the groundwork for the sculpture garden.

Scott German, from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe called the event a touchstone, “It’s more of a reality, it’s a touchstone. It’s a cultural and physical touchstone that something is happening, it’s no longer in our heads.”

Artist's rendering of the First Nations Sculpture Garden in Rapid City, South Dakota. Image from FNSG

Oglala Lakota sculptor Marilyn Wounded Head created the images that will be sent to the foundry, cast in bronze then prominently displayed in the “First Nations Sculpture Garden” in Halley Park.

Completion of the First Nations Sculpture Garden is set for 2016 as fundraising efforts continue.

Contributions to First Nations Sculpture Garden should be directed to: FNSG, P.O. Box 9515, Rapid City, S.D. 57709. You may also like them on their Facebook page First Nations Sculpture Garden and make donations on their First Nations Sculpture Garden Website.

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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