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Plains Indians

Museums and Art Galleries

Tribal MuseumsTreasured artifacts blend with modern American Indian art in museums and galleries across South Dakota. From brightly colored beadwork to finely crafted horse dance sticks, each piece contributes to the ongoing story of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people.

Akta Lakota Museum, Chamberlain

The symbolism of Lakota culture is evident in the colors and patterns of artifacts such as beaded moccasins, flowing headdresses and parfleche containers. The museum's contemporary works of art combine traditional symbolism with modern methods.
(605) 734-3452. www.aktalakota.org

Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, St. Francis

Exhibits of Sioux culture emphasizing decorative arts and crafts. Located on the grounds of the St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
(605) 747-2745. www.sfmission.org

Buffalo Interpretive Center, Fort Pierre

The center offers hands-on exhibits, interpretive videos, weekly cultural programs and a gift shop. Native artists are on hand to demonstrate their crafts on various dates. Groups are requested to contact the center to schedule a group tour or to confirm arrival. Located on Highway 1806 seven miles east of Fort Pierre along the Native American Scenic Byway.
(888) 323-2260 or (605) 223-2260.

Cultural Heritage Center, PierrePierre Heritage Center

The "Oyate Tawicoh'an" (Ways of the People) exhibit focuses on the religious and social beliefs of several Plains Indian tribes, including the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota. Displays include a tipi, a prayer rock, and a rare horse effigy.
(605) 773-3458. www.sdhistory.org.

Dacotah Prairie Museum, Aberdeen

Step back into the past and experience what life was like for the Native Americans, early pioneers and how the railroads impacted life for the early prairie settlers. The museum mounts both short- and long-term exhibits.
(605) 626-7117. www.dacotahprairiemuseum.com.

Dakota Discovery Museum, Mitchell

The paintings of renowned artist Oscar Howe, a Yanktonai, are featured in one gallery of the museum. Howe used his unique, abstract style to depict the spirit of his people.
(605) 996-2122. www.dakotadiscovery.com.

The Heritage Center, Pine Ridge

The center's collection encompasses both traditional Plains Indian artifacts and contemporary art. One of the most intriguing pieces is an elaborately decorated top hat that belonged to Chief American Horse. Each summer, the center hosts the Red Cloud Indian Art Show, which showcases the works of modern American Indian artists. The center is located at the Red Cloud Indian School.
(605) 867-5491. www.redcloudschool.org.

Indian Museum of North America, Crazy Horse Memorial, near Custer

More than 20,000 authentic items representing North American tribes fill the museum's three galleries. One wing focuses entirely on Lakota culture.
(605) 673-4681. www.crazyhorse.org.

Journey MuseumThe Journey Museum, Rapid City

Walk through 200 years of Lakota culture in an exhibit area devoted entirely to American Indian achievements. Listen to tales told by a Lakota elder via hologram.
(605) 394-6923. www.journeymuseum.org.

Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls

View seven galleries of changing exhibits including the works of contemporary American Indian artists. The Northern Plains Gallery features pieces from the museum's tribal arts collection.
(605) 367-7397. www.washingtonpavilion.org.