Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sitting Bull Visitor Center Opens On Standing Rock

The new visitor center near the Sitting Bull College is dedicated.
Sitting Bull Visitor Center, Standing Rock
Hear The Stories Of The Land and People
By Dakota Wind
Fort Yates, ND - On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, the people of Standing Rock and many invited  visitors celebrated the grand opening of the new Sitting Bull Visitor Center on the Sitting Bull College campus in Fort Yates, ND. According to LaDonna Bravebull-Allard, Standing Rock Tribal Tourism Director, it was a project a decade in the making. 



The building, a log cabin, was donated to the Sitting Bull College ten years ago and assembled on a hillside overlooking the campus and highway. At first it was used for offices, then languished with various problems from an unstable foundation to finishing the interior. Gradually, each problem was assessed and then tackled methodically as funding became available. 

A Medicine Wheel rests just outside on the north side of the visitor center. Pergola shading offers modest protection from the sun and rain. Outdoor seating provides a quiet place at three of the four corners for reflection and relaxation. 




Things aren't finished just yet. Future plans call for an amphitheatre for outside public demonstrations of culture, art, story telling, dance and song. 



Hard wood lines the floor and display cases within the visitor center. Lighting inside is bright but soft and profuse. Cases are filled with the finest examples of quill and bead work both historic and contemporary. Historic photos decorate the walls of the reservation in its early agency days.

Interior plans for the ground floor, or basement, show that a classroom will provide an area for Standing Rock's finest artisans to demonstrate their craft to visitors or instruct the next generation in centuries of tradition. 



The dedication of the visitor center was graced with the attendance of Isaac Dog Eagle, one of Sitting Bull's descendants. Kevin Locke, pre-eminent flute-player of the traditional Plains Indian flute and world-reknowned hoop dancer, provided the assembly with a benediction to the Creator and a song by Sitting Bull. Charles Murphy, Standing Rock's Tribal Chairman - longest chairman in office briefly shared a few words of welcome to all. 




A light rainfall sprinkled down, but never threatened a downpour, and an ever-present plains breeze carried the songs of meadowlarks throughout the entire program. In a beautiful gesture an esteemed visitor from North Carolina brought tobacco from his family land and shared it with Standing Rock's leadership. 

For more information visit Standing Rock Tourism.