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Exhibition - 11 Degrees of Tatanka

Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 8:00am

Center For Western Studies Fantle Building
2121 South Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57101

For the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota people of the Northern Plains, oral histories preserve cultural traditions and create a bridge from that which was, to that which is now.

The Lakota origin story says that Tatanka (the American bison or buffalo) sacrificed his own body to sustain the First People. Referring to themselves as the Buffalo Nation, the Sioux are intrinsically bound to the mighty buffalo.

In sustaining both the body and spirit of generations of Sioux, the power and sacrifice of this noble beast are also the very reasons Sioux oral histories survive today. Food, shelter, clothing, even artwork created from the physical body of the buffalo kept the oral traditions alive in a literal sense.

The buffalo herds, once numbering in the millions, were hunted to near extinction in the late 19th century. Numbers have dwindled, but as a sacred animal of the Buffalo Nation, its spirit thrives. Yesterday, today, and forever, the First Peoples’ stories are written on the spirit of Tatanka.

In his gallery exhibition, "11 Degrees of Tatanka," artist Jerry Fogg seeks to honor the buffalo’s sacrifice in preserving Lakota oral histories. One of the ways the spirit of Tatanka is embodied in this exhibit is through the artist's use of painted buffalo skulls to depict Native traditions such as the sacred pipe ceremony, the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, and star knowledge. As a mixed media Artist, Fogg uses traditional and contemporary materials in his work, blending the stories of those who came before him with his own.

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