Logo of The Gift exhibition. Click on it for information about its design.
The Gift is based on a traditional Lakotan narrative about when White Buffalo Woman, an emissary from the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation), gave a sacred pipe to the Itazipco Oyate, one of seven oyates of the Lakota division of the Oceti Sakowin Confederacy. In the Standing Rock Reservation in 1911, Lone Man shared a narrative, “The White Buffalo Calf Pipe (Ptehin’cala Canonpa),” about the gift, with Frances Densmore who published it in 1918. It is a wondrous account of that event.
Opened May 2021 at
Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, Chamberlain, SD
2022 at South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD
2022 at Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City, SD
2023 at The Brinton Museum, Big Horn, WY
2023 at The Heritage Center, Pine Ridge, SD
The narrative is organized into seven passages, each of which is interpreted and illustrated by a Lakotan artist. These seven artists are the Narrative Artists for the exhibit. When Frances Densmore recorded the narrative, she also recorded Charging Thunder singing, “Song of the White Buffalo Maiden.” He, Charging Thunder, is the Narrative Musician, and his song can be heard in the exhibit and in the online version of the exhibit. There also is a Narrative Poet whose poem is in the exhibit and its online version. The creative works of these nine Lakotans constitute the Narrative section of the exhibit.
The second section of the exhibit explores the seven ceremonies ⎯ "gifts" ⎯ that Black Elk says were foretold by White Buffalo Woman. For each gift, a Lakotan musician or musical group composed a song, a Lakotan poet wrote a poem, and two Lakotan visual artists each created an artwork. These creative works constitute the Gifts section of the exhibit.
The gifts were and are:
Inikagha ⎯ Revitalizing the Ghost
Hanblecheya ⎯ Crying for a Vision
Wanaghi Yuhapi ⎯ Keeping a Spirit
Wiwanyang Wachipi ⎯ Sun Dancing
Hunka Lowanpi ⎯ Making Relatives
Ishnati Awichalowan ⎯ Preparing for Womanhood
Tapa Wankayeyapi ⎯ Throwing the Ball
A curriculum team will soon be creating classroom activities related to the exhibit.
Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center
The Brinton Museum
Dahl Arts Center
The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School
South Dakota Art Museum
Exhibit curriculum support
South Dakota Art Museum
South Dakota Community Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
South Dakota Arts Council
Researcher, Terri Fried
Curator, Craig Howe
Editor, Charles Woodard
Wopila Tanka / Thank You
This exhibit is made possible in large part by encouragement and financial support from good people and organizations nearby and far away. If you would like to join in supporting The Gift exhibit, we will be grateful. Click for more information about supporting this exhibit. All donations will be recognized and are tax deductible.
Father Peter J. Powell
Father Peter J. Powell Trust
Patty & Bert Whitley
A. Joseph Guse
Alisa and Gary Joaquin
Anne Siri Renaa
Chris and Gabrielle Seeley
Chris Plowe and Myaing Nyunt
Kayla Schubert and Beatrice Aubid
Dorie Ellzey Blesoff
Mike and Karen Goetzinger