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Native Sun News Today: Supply store for Lakota artists opens on Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Some of the art supplies available at the new Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Photo by Justin Kougl

Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market opens in Eagle Butte
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today
Managing Editor

EAGLE BUTTE –– Lakota artists, an integral part of the economic mix on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, can now purchase their supplies closer to home. The Keya Foundation announced the grand opening of the Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market inside the H.V. Johnson Cultural Center in Eagle Butte, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 10.

“The challenges our artists were finding was that they had to travel to Rapid City, Pierre and Bismarck to buy art supplies to create,” said Justine Kougl Director of the Keya Foundation. “It was really putting a burden on, number one, their finances and two; a lot of them don’t necessarily have the most reliable transportation.”

To assist Lakota artisans, Keya Foundation partnered with the H.V. Cultural Center and secured a grant to expand the existing gift shop. The Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market will now offer a wider variety of materials needed to complete art projects.

The Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market will also carry a large collection of handmade items including star quilts, dream catchers, moccasins, dance regalia, jewelry as well as fine art paintings. They also have an assortment of medicinal herbs including sage, sweet grass, flat cedar, cheyaka, bitterroot, bear root and lilac.

For craft items such as leather, beads, jewelry findings, patterns, needles and thread Keya Foundation contracted with Dakota Emporium out of Pierre. For canvas, paint, paintbrushes, sketchbooks, pencils, paper and other art supplies they’ve contracted with ASW Wholesale.

The Keya Foundation was founded in 2012 on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation she said to strengthen the art economy within Cheyenne River and to assist the many Lakota artisans who depend on the revenue generated from the sale of arts and crafts to support themselves and their families.

Keya Foundation established the Lakota Artistry Cooperative with the primary goal of assisting local artists in packaging, marketing, and selling their artwork at various venues including art shows, art galleries, traveling art exhibits and open houses.

“We have artists that contract with us and we assist them with a series of scholarships to help provide supplies. We help with marketing and product development,” Kougl said. “A lot of the art shows charge entry fees and we try to help artists offset those costs and assist them with booth fees and travel.”

One of the artists of Keya Foundation is Tammy Eagle Hunter a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member. Eagle Hunter’s art work is currently the featured exhibit at the Sioux Indian Museum inside the Journey Museum in Rapid City and runs through March 24.

Eagle Hunter’s bio on the Keya Foundation website states: “Although she does not have a formal art education, her current style was honed through years of practicing at home, experimenting with media and styles. Tammy sees her artistic development as a lifelong journey, one in which she is constantly fine-tuning her artistic vision and enhancing skills and techniques. Eagle Hunter’s acrylic-on-canvas paintings are best described as expressionistic, and she draws inspiration from cultural components, subjects and objects that have great meaning to her. Tammy has two young children who are the world to her and are beginning to pick up their own paintbrushes and paint alongside their mother learning the strokes and the culture along with it.”

The Keya Foundation also created an ETSY site called Keya Lakota Art that can be found at where local entrepreneurial artists can sell their creations.

The Keya Foundation currently partners with the Four Bands Community Fund, The H.V. Johnston Cultural Center, Lindskov’s Isabel School Project, Missouri Breaks Research Institute, as well as local artists to help strengthen the reservation art economy.

Contact the Keya Foundation at Email:

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Lakota Artists Supply Store and Market opens in Eagle Butte

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