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Arts & Life

Oglala Sioux holy man's priceless artifacts could soon be on display

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Courtesy of Myron Pourier
Myron Pourier displays a bow and arrows used by his ancestor, Nicholas Black Elk.

The South Dakota Hall of Fame is raising money to display two important Native American artifacts.

The bow and arrows of Oglala Sioux holy man Nicholas Black Elk could become part of an expanded exhibit.

To add the priceless artifacts to the Hall of Fame, the organization needs to raise $5,000 by the end of December. The money would help cover insurance costs while the items are on loan.

Black Elk was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2018 for his unique efforts to bridge cultures through spiritual teachings. The Catholic Church may bestow sainthood to Black Elk for his work promoting the church’s doctrine and Lakota spirituality.

Black Elk’s great-great-grandson Myron Pourier, currently has the bow and arrows. He says displaying the artifacts honors Black Elk’s legacy.

“Everybody on this earth that comes into this world given a duty in life to do, and we got to find that duty, find that purpose in life. To be a good neighbor to others around us, so that bow and arrow when it comes back it shows that.

Nicholas Black Elk gave his bow and arrows to John Neihardt, the author of a book called Black Elk Speaks, after they became spiritual brothers. Pourier says the story of how the artifacts left the family and returned to it demonstrate the Lakota belief that everyone is connected.

“And that's the whole meaning of his messages culture diversity and understanding for all walks of life, being a good neighbor having respect and compassion. When you read Black Elk Speaks it tells a story, but it also tells the spiritual aspect of who we are as a people”

The Hall of Fame hopes to receive Black Elk’s bow and arrows on loan in early 2022. It also hopes to partner with the Smithsonian Institute to showcase Black Elk’s story to a broader audience.