Native American Culture

A Vibrant and Thriving Legacy

There’s no denying the sense of wonder and spiritual significance in and around Rapid City. The ever-abundant Black Hills and the wide open spaces of the Great Plains make the perfect setting for Native American discovery. With centuries of vibrant and rich history you’re set to experience a culture that is still very much alive.

Rapid City is located just northwest of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux. This bright and beautiful culture takes full part in exciting events throughout the year, like the Black Hills Powwow, and has a presence in local shops where artisans create inspiring work. One of the best places to find Native American arts and crafts is at Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries in Downtown Rapid City. Here you will find the finest collection of arts, crafts, jewelry, books and music. At Sioux Pottery, you can appreciate the Lakota culture by touring the factory, watching pottery being made from start to finish and even creating a souvenir. A visit to The Journey Museum & Learning Center will help you understand the history of the Black Hills and the story of its heritage through interactive displays and storytelling.

The Black Hills in itself serve as a sacred landscape for the Lakota. Black Hills is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa and was named so because of the dark, tree-dense appearance from a distance. Within the Hills, you will find three monumental landmarks that provide connection to nature and the past. Perhaps the most impressive site is Crazy Horse Memorial standing 563 feet tall. Crazy Horse, one of the most powerful Lakota Indians, represents the freedom of the Native American spirit. Upon completion, it will be one of the largest sculptures in the world. Landmarks like Devils Tower National Monument and Bear Butte State Park also represent importance to the Lakota and other Plains Tribes. Both of these natural wonders incorporate legends of a bear that explain their formation. Bear Butte still serves as a place for council meetings, Sun Dances and various ceremonies. It is also common to see prayer ties and ceremonial symbols in the trees.

Located east of Rapid City and in the Great Plains of South Dakota, Badlands National Park is a rugged pinnacle landscape formed 33 million years ago. First discovered by the Lakota, it is here that the religion of the Ghost Dance was born and nearby the Battle of Wounded Knee occurred. Today, it serves as a place for visitors to discover the history of the Lakota, explore fossil sites, follow trails and more.

Big Adventures Waiting At Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument is an iconic landmark filled with legendary Native American tales. Today, over two-dozen Native American tribes consider it a sacred location with spiritual significance. This powerfully, inspiring wonder can make for an impactful experience both day and night - rock climb, hike the area, take in the history and then grab a one-of-a-kind stargazing seat.

Explore the Story Behind the Legendary Sculpture

After assisting Gutzon Borglum carve Mount Rushmore, the Storyteller in Stone, Korczak Ziolkowski, dedicated his life to carving Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills. Beginning in 1947, the memorial is predicted to take more than a century to complete. Read about the first blast on this impressive, 563-foot sculpture on the blog.


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