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First Nations Sculpture Garden Moves Toward Goal

A new installment in a downtown Rapid City park aims to recognize the history of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people in this region and highlight contributions of 20th century Native Americans.

 The First Nations Sculpture Garden has broken ground in Halley Park in the center of Rapid City and organizers are now working toward their fundraising goal in order to finish the project.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn is an author and professor who is also a main organizer behind the First Nations Sculpture Garden.  Cook-Lynn says the project not only aims to show the origins and history of the indigenous people in the Black Hills, but also to highlight the accomplishments of great Native leaders.

“It's basically to tell the 20th century story of the intellectual and cultural contributions of the Dakoyate (People) to this region. We are the indigenous people of the Northern Plains and we have a huge, huge history here," says Cook-Lynn.

The park will feature four 20th century indigenous leaders. Namely, Nick Black Elk, Charles Eastman, Oscar Howe, and Vine Deloria.

“We're kind of burned out with Crazy Horse, Crazy Horse, Crazy Horse and war, and so we wanted to tell ourselves and our children and others about how we have accomplished many things in the 20th century,” says Cook Lynn.

Cook-Lynn says the organization has raised about $300-thousand dollars for the project and is now working to on a final fundraising push to pay for bronze statues – she says she hopes to have the statures installed by the end of 2016.