Prayer: Grandfather, as I sit here writing this I am emotional with tears wanting to fall. Thinking to myself, how do I get people to believe in this project? How do I meet the professional credibility to beg people to open their heart and be kind? Grandfather, where would I be without you. Why am I doing this project knowing how large this is, knowing that it is going to take my whole life and I will most likely die with my whole life dedicated to this project. Im doing it because of you. Because my Lakota way of life is where my heart lies. That little boy who would talk to you and say “for one time I want to be a sun-dancer and pray for my people”. You not only let that little boy fulfill what his heart told him to do. You showed him you are pure and good. You showed him if you suffer for your people, you will actually live. Grandfather, I have nothing more to give or to chase, I have given my life to you, because you have given me a life money or fame cannot buy. Grandfather, I will always be that little boy with purity, and no sense in how cold the world can be. Whether this project means the same to somebody else or not, I will die trying for it. Because, that little boy is somewhere out there and he is going to love you like I love you.

-Mitakuye Oyasin

Mission Statement

Providing an accurate interpretation of The Great Plains tribes through documented resources, artifacts and local historians with the intention to instill knowledge, strong sense of identity, and hope into the Lakota and all Native people.

Lakota Dream has access to artifacts that need to come home.

The sacred Black Hills will become the new home for the museum, within close proximity of the region’s largest tourist attractions: Mt. Rushmore Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial. These ancestral lands are deeply woven into the blood lines of millions of Lakota people who have never ceded their rightful ownership of the Black Hills upheld by the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868. The museum and monument will be a physical reminder to restore hope and promote healing for all Native people, as the first Indigenous-led museum that highlights the proud history of Lakota people and other Great Plain Tribes from their own lens. The Museum and monument will showcase the deep history connected to the region, as well as the legacy of survival and cultural resiliency of a Peoples’ that have overcome generational trauma, genocidal and forced assimilation policies.

Scenic image of trees

The museum will be structured to showcase and preserve artifacts that are already in possession of the Lakota Sioux tribes and those that are going through the repatriation process. This is an important and necessary function as the Great Plain Tribes do not have appropriate places to store and protect these priceless artifacts.

About (NAGPRA)

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted November 16th , 1990. Its purpose was to establish tribal ownership of cultural items either discovered or excavated (from archaeological excavation) on federal or tribal land (public not private land). NAGPRA states that Native American human remains and the associated funerary objects belong to lineal descendants. If lineal descendants cannot be identified (i.e. culturally unidentifiable objects) then the remains and objects, along with sacred and funerary objects and objects of cultural patrimony belong to the tribe whose land the objects and remains were found or they belong to the tribe having the closest known relationship to them. The process of returning our ancestors and our objects is called repatriation. In order for ancestors and objects to come home, museums and institutions will either contact the tribe directly or the tribe can contact that museum or institution who may have objects or ancestors. A consultation meeting is then scheduled in order for both entities to see the objects or ancestors in question. After consultation, the repatriation process can begin. Once ancestors or items are returned, the tribe can then choose to do with them what they wish. If there are objects or ancestors found in an archaeological excavation then the tribe should be notified and reburial or repatriation can begin. By creating an institution such as Lakota Dream Museum it makes it easier for Lakota and Great Plains ancestors and objects to be returned to the community. A museum that is run for and by Lakota people will allow the museum to facilitatethe repatriation process, taking the burden (financial, spiritual and emotional) away from individual tribal members.
-Emily C. Van Alst Ph.D. (Lakota Dream Currator)

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