Opinion

Tiffany Midge: What stories will the Missouri River tell in the future?






The "Dignity" sculpture by South Dakota Artist Laureate Dale Lamphere overlooks the Missouri River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. Photo: Dignity Sculpture

The Dignity sculpture was unveiled along the banks of the Missouri River in South Dakota last fall as the battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline raged in neighboring North Dakota. Poet Tiffany Midge, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, imagines a 50-foot-tall Native woman coming to life and protecting the waters from the threats facing her people:
In September of last year, a 50-foot monument bearing the likeness of an unnamed Lakota woman replete with a blowing-in-the-wind star quilt, was installed along the banks of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Her creator, Dale Lamphere, a non-Native artist, titled the giantess sculpture “Dignity.”

On his website Lamphere states, “’Dignity’ represents the courage, perseverance, and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota culture in South Dakota. She is very solid. Grounded into the earth, literally and spiritually.” Indeed, she is—weighing in at 12 tons and made entirely of stainless steel. The million-dollar sculpture was financed by Rapid City businessman, Norm McKie and his wife Eunabel, on behalf of their family and was given as a gift to all the people of South Dakota.

At the time of the launch if you followed the Missouri river to the north, you would have witnessed another launch taking place. The launching of concussion grenades and dog attacks, water cannons and rubber bullets. The launching of incalculable greed and disregard for life. The NoDAPL demonstration and stand-off was an event on a scale which the world has never seen, and it sparked universal awareness and attention towards the most critically urgent issues of our time. Protecting the Water. Mni Wiconi. Water is Life.

Read More on the Story:
Tiffany Midge: Attack of the 50ft Lakota Woman from the Missouri River Banks (Indian Country Media 3/9)

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