Workshops on Wheels
. . . and innovative projects . . .
In response to the growing demand for rigorous, reliable, respectful and relevant education about American Indian communities, CAIRNS initiated a series of exciting and innovative projects that are transforming how American Indians and their communities are presented and represented within and beyond reservations, particularly in the realm of cultural expression and history.
Since 2015, CAIRNS has curated educational, culturally-based art exhibits that center Lakotan narratives and artworks about important events from when Lakotan ancestors emerged onto this earth up to the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. Depending on the exhibit, the artworks‒ sculptures, paintings, songs and poems‒are created by contemporary citizens of Lakota or Oceti Sakowin Confederacy tribes.
CAIRNS has developed and hosted immersive, educational seminars that travel to important sites in American Indian histories and cultures since 2006. Our En Route “classrooms” include motor coaches, SUVs and vans. In 2014, CAIRNS collaborated with Rapid City School District’s Indian Education Office to launch a 5-day Lakota Lands & Identities "classroom on wheels" for 48 participants. The following year we partnered with Regional Health to offer a similar course for its leadership and staff. Then in 2019, we developed a 4-day version of Lakota Lands & Identities and a new 3-day seminar, Lakota Lands & Indian Arts, in collaboration with Arts South Dakota.
During the fall season between 2014 and 2018, CAIRNS also hosted a day-long Lakota Film Festival in Martin, South Dakota, which is in the Lacreek District of Pine Ridge Reservation. These festivals showcased the creative talents of contemporary Lakotan filmmakers and actors whose work stands as evidence that traditional Lakotan culture is sophisticated enough to appear vibrant and fresh even when expressed through modern media.