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Avera Exhibit to Honor Native American Culture in Sioux Falls

Oct 27, 2017 03:55PM ● By Digital Media Director

Avera is partnering with the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) to present a tableau of artworks based on traditional narratives that will help people more clearly understand this important culture and its many contributions to society.

Craig Howe, PhD, CAIRNS Exhibit Curator said the display for 2017 will offer additional insights and that he looks forward to the opportunity to share it with new audiences.

“This year we’re excited to share the story that relates to the Great Race, which in many ways explains the creation of the Black Hills. It’s an important aspect that gives tremendous perspective on the Lakota people,” he said. “We’re again thrilled to partner with Avera – the Prairie Center is a perfect venue for sharing this artwork that depicts the story in images and words.”

Howe’s organization is based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and this traveling community-based exhibit will be installed at Avera Health’s Prairie Center in Sioux Falls on Sept. 30. It’ll remain on display during October and consists of panels that show true-to-size photos of the original exhibit; the photos shown in community settings are simpler because the actual exhibit includes a wide range of paintings, wood-carving work and mixed media pieces.

Howe said these traveling exhibits bring the artwork to communities and can help teach children and adults this traditional story’s significance.

“We’re proud to bring museum-quality exhibits and get them in front of Lakota people,” Howe said. “Most American Indians, as well as many Lakotas, are not as familiar with the story. We see it as a cultural educational tool not just for American Indians, but for any community.”

Avera Health Director of Tribal Relations JR LaPlante said he’s glad Avera has sponsored a Native Americans’ Day event in collaboration with CAIRNS for a second year, noting that the exhibit is an effective method of recognizing cultural connections and pointed to the importance of community dialogue as South Dakota prepares to celebrate its Native Americans’ Day on Oct. 9. The display will host a media day and offer tours with Howe that afternoon.

“We’re looking forward to hosting many employees and the public during our events Oct. 9, and encourage anyone who cannot join us for guided tours that day to come out in October and take in the exhibit,” said LaPlante. “The opportunities for cross-cultural awareness are many and people will truly enjoy this display.”

Narrated 30-minute tours with Dr. Howe will take place from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 9. You can learn more about Howe and his organization online at