The Lakota Cultural Museum is dedicated to my sister, Flossie Bear Robe, descendant of Chief Big Foot killed at Wounded Knee. His story is told in the museum exhibits.
The mission of Lakota Cultural Museum is to develop an appreciation of the Lakota culture through its artifacts from the Buffalo Days. In this endeavor, two museum buildings display permanent exhibits of Lakota material culture. The Sioux Replication business making buffalo items is in a nearby barn where replicated items are offered, as well as occasional sales of old items not matching the museum's mission statement. Conducted in this building are hands-on free instructions enabling historic crafts to continue such as brain-tanning buffalo robes, moccasin-making, porcupine quillwork and beading. An adjacent room exhibits the story of the mustang horse to the Lakota.
Lakota Sioux artifacts in the museum were constructed prior to 1877 and have endured a precarious journey to exist today. Following the battles of Little Bighorn and Lame Deer, when the Lakota surrendered, the government shot their horses and personal possessions were burned. Until 1978, agents on reservations had authority to confiscate historic items from tribal members. Charles Horn Chips had a bugle, sword and artifacts from the Little Bighorn hidden under his bed, which he showed visitors. Upon learning about these articles, the Pine Ridge agent took them. Charles and other Lakota were also jailed for owning Indian religious items and practicing ceremonies. Today museums deal with Repatriation, which emptied many of their exhibits. Three years ago, exhibits from the Lakota Cultural Museum and items on loan from the Wounded Knee Museum, which survived an AIM takeover and fire, were taken. It is imperative for us to safeguard those few remaining, unique Lakota artifacts from being lost.
In its endeavor to fulfill its mission, the Lakota Culture Museum, Hot Springs, SD is open six days a week. Museum tours of exhibits are free to the public. Call (605) 745-3902 for information.
"Unless we know our past, we can't know our future."
- Chief Red Cloud