Rapid City, South Dakota, is rich in Indigenous American culture with roots dating back to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes of the Oceti Sakowin as well as the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Arikara and Mandan nations who lived and traveled throughout the Black Hills. Integrating their culture into meetings honors them and creates more inclusive and enriching experiences for attendees.

Here are 10 ways to infuse American Indian heritage into your next event in Rapid City.


1. Invite Native American Leaders As Guest Speakers


Native American dancer with colorful regalia in front of Crazy Horse Memorial®

Make your meeting a dynamic learning experience by inviting a Native American leader, scholar, or community member to engage with your group. Rapid City is home to seven Black Hills tribes, to whom our helpful destination experts are happy to reach out on your behalf and arrange a speaking engagement.

The representative may share insights on various topics that are relevant to your event, such as Native American culture and survival, Indigenous art and craftsmanship, Native American languages, preservation and much more.



2. Indigenous Food Tastings


Bowl of colorful, indigenous food

Food brings us all together. One of the best ways to introduce Indigenous culture to your attendees is by treating them to Native American cuisine and culinary traditions. By partnering with Native American restaurants and chefs such as Oyul Fusion - LaoKota Cuisine, Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse Memorial, Chef Brave Heart, Malissa’s Frybread or Mercys Tacos your group may indulge in authentic cuisine and support local Native-owned businesses.



3. Acknowledge The Land


Five Native American tepees on the open prairie

Rapid City’s landscape would not be what it is today without the Native people who lived on the land before the city’s incorporation. Acknowledging this and the Native communities who make their home in the Black Hills today honors and preserves this legacy. Consider starting your meeting with a land acknowledgment session that honors original Indigenous inhabitants and informs your group about the tribes that settled in the region. A resource from the National Museum of the American Indian suggests asking for guidance in making land acknowledgments – contacting local Indigenous communities to ask how they want to be recognized.



4. Enjoy Native American Experiences


Native American dancers in a line ready to perform at the Black Hills Powwow in Rapid CityOne of the most engaging ways to weave Indigenous heritage into your event is to add Native American experiences to your itinerary. Treat your attendees to the excitement of the Black Hills Powwow. Explore the Wind Cave National Park, which honors the sacred connections of the Lakota culture. Take an archaeological trip through time at The Journey Museum & Learning Center to view Native American artifacts and more. Whether your group wants to get active or partake in an educational adventure, there is something for everyone.


5. Support Native-Owned Businesses


Exterior of Prairie Edge Trading Company with statue in downtown Rapid City, SD

Rapid City is home to a variety of Indigenous businesses that your group can shop with and visit. Establishments like Li'l Gails—which sells Native American goods like clothing, bedding, toys and more—Spotted Tails Siouxper Store, the Sioux Trading Post, the Dakota Drum Company and HeSapa Enterprises welcome attendees with open arms to check out their selections of products.



6. Take In Indigenous Art


Del Iron Cloud at his booth inside of Prairie Edge in Rapid City, SD

Native Americans create some of the world’s most exquisite works of art, which will give your group glimpses into their tribes’ histories and lived experiences. Rapid City offers many opportunities for attendees to take in Indigenous art, such as visiting the Native POP: People of the Plains Art Market & Cultural Celebration or checking out galleries or exhibitions at Red Cloud Heritage Center, Dahl Art Center or the Prairie Edge Trading Co & Galleries.

Downtown Rapid City is also a haven for art. Your group can check out the First Nations Sculpture Garden in Halley Park, as well as hand-painted masterpieces created by Lakota Artist Sonja Holy Eagle.



7. Attend American Indian Events


Birds eye view of Native American dancer at Black Hills Powwow

Throughout the year, Rapid City hosts many Native American events and celebrations that your meeting group can attend. Attendees can have an inspiring time at The Black Hills Powwow, which is held annually in October. Other functions include the Native American Day Parade, the Remembering the Children Memorial Walk, and the Lakota Nation Invitational.



8. Support Local Native American Causes


native american murals on the walls of art alley in downtown rapid city south dakota

Giving back and helping Indigenous Americans in need through various nonprofit organizations and initiatives is also an excellent way to incorporate Native American experiences into meetings. Rapid City is home to different charitable organizations that aid Native Americans who are facing hardships, including:

By supporting these causes, your group will be assisting Native Americans both locally and nationally. Plus, it’s a great step toward accomplishing corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.



9. Visit Native American Landmarks


Visitors taking in the view of the crazy horse carving from the visitor center

Known for its nationally recognized landmarks, Rapid City is also home to parks, memorials and monuments that are a part of Indigenous American history. Take your group to visit the ​​Devils Tower National Monument or the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial to learn more about Native American culture and the story behind these monumental attractions.



10. Share The Bright Spots In Native American News


Woman walking on trail in Badlands National Park

While it is crucial to shine a light on the challenges Native Americans have faced, celebrating their achievements and learning about the positives happening within their community is more important and empowering. For instance, you can highlight landmarks and experiences rich in Native American culture and progress. You can also visit the Rapid City Public Library or research local news online to share information with your attendees.



Plan In Rapid City

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