The Mission of Lakota Cultural Museum is to offer a world-class setting of Lakota Sioux artifacts to accurately reflect spirituality and life from the Buffalo Days.
The museum's artifacts tell of pre-reservation days prior to 1877, before battles of Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn) and Lame Deer. Also displayed are surviving items on loan from the Wounded Knee Museum. Artifacts in the Lakota Cultural Museum are well-documented regarding their history and are displayed for easy viewing.
The Lakota Cultural Museum is unique with pieces unavailable in other museums, such as hide bundles with contents from craftspeople long ago: Arrow Maker, Tipi Maker, Fire Maker, Horse Stealing and Woman's Work sets. Items of the famous medicine man, Woptuha, with protective medicine (wotawe) made for Crazy Horse are available for knowledgeable scholars to study. Historic items of notable chiefs include Sitting Bull, Hare, Tall Mandan, Red Cloud and Big Foot.
The hundreds of items in the museum collections have been photographed and each story recorded to preserve their historic value. There is no charge for the museum visit or information offered. Notable is the section of Lewis and Clark's thirteen items, as shown in ARTS OF DISPLOMACY, LEWIS AND CLARK'S INDIAN COLLECTION.
The museum serves Lakota from nearby Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, but other surrounding tribal groups have traveled to see the collections. Also visitors abroad from Germany, England, Japan, Poland, Italy, Finland and Switzerland have come. The Lakota Culture Museum, as other museums, eliminate items inconsistent with their mission and liquidate them, saving space and generating funding for additional displays. It is quality, not quantity, through which Lakota Cultural Museum has been recognized by NONAM in Europe for future exhibits abroad.
As Curator and Director of the Lakota Cultural Museum, with 50 year's experience working with top museums, it is an ongoing task to present accurate information on each item. Various displayed pieces are missing due to an incident three years ago when items were taken. Those artifacts included pre-1830 articles which offered our earliest view of the Lakota. The missing pieces present an ongoing challenge to save historic articles.
With the culture quickly disappearing, the Lakota Cultural Museum's purpose is to display, preserve and interpret the Lakota story in a scholarly and interesting fashion. To this endeavor, the Lakota Culture Museum is registered with the South Dakota Museums Association and listed in its directory.
Larry Belitz, Plains Indians Material Culture Expert/Consultant
Jim Czywczynski, Wounded Knee Site owner