“THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS!” But it’s not the gold of Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue. There’s gold to be given to the young people who are spread out over the plains of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. It comes in the way of the world of the artists and craftsman. It comes from the elders of the Lakota people passing on what they have spent a life time learning themselves. They are the ones giving life to the ancient culture and slowly the people are showing signs of improvement both socially and economically.
Witnessing the devastation of the Lakota People following the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee, the great Medicine man Black Elk spoke of “the Circle” which had finally been broken and would “not heal for seven generations.”
Over the past several months, we have had the privilege to speak with and photograph artists and craftsmen during our time on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Each of these artists have shared the profound pride they carry for their people and the rich fulfillment of passing on what they have learned to the youth of their Nation. In short, “TO GIVE. IT’S THE LAKOTA WAY.”
(Feature image of Gus Yellowhair wearing the traditional headdress of the Lakota Nácha Society – Photography Credit: Jim Storm; Article and photography by Jim Storm and Dr. Valerie J. Pronio-Stelluto.)