Lakota drummers, dancers and artists highlighted the first annual Badlands National Park Heritage Celebration of Arts and Culture.
Badlands National Park partnered with the National Park Foundation, South Dakota Humanities Council and Badlands Natural History Association to hold the festival on August 8, 2009. The day-long event featured music and dance performances by the Lakota Creekside Drum Group including Emmanuel Black Bear, Tim Black Bear, Simon Thunder Hawk, Rob Lawrence and John Mestes and international hoop dancing champion, Jasmine Pickner of the Crow Creek tribe. Corbin Conroy, Jean Bedell and her daughter and grandchildren danced to the beat of the drum in traditional Native American dress. Cultural demonstrations were presented throughout the day showing Junior Rangers and other visitors how to make dream catchers, flint knap and tan bison hides. Kelly Looking Horse, one of the participants explained, âThese kinds of programs are to help break down stereotypes,â he said. He wants people to see the truth about their heritage, because they are a âvery proud people.â
The event culminated with a presentation, âVoices from the Pastâ performed by Geraldine Goes in Center and Joyce Jefferson, the program made possible by the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Night Sky Program followed with an opportunity for visitors to observe the Badlands night sky using park telescopes and binoculars.
High school students from the area Lakota Tribe volunteered to help set up and participate in the event.