Red Eagle Visits Aktá Lakota Museum

Posted on: November 11, 2019

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate member Red Eagle Visits Aktá Lakota Museum.

On a crisp November Saturday morning, Jeremy Red Eagle pores over the articles in the Aktá Lakota Museum’s collection, less like he is viewing historical artifacts and much more like he is reading a story, a story of which he is very much a part. Selected by the Minnesota Historical Society as a member of their 2019 Native American Artist-in-Residence Program, Red Eagle is mentoring two young Dakota men in their shared culture while he uses the society’s resources to further his knowledge of crafts and the history of area tribes.

Alongside him is Akisha Peters, his nephew, who has particular interest in the war clubs in the collection. Admiring the metal inlays, horse hair and beading in the Lakota clubs, the two point out the differences between the Lakota clubs and the wooden and decorated Dakota clubs. They research quill work, lacrosse sticks, tools, weaponry and dance regalia, with the goal to keep traditional methods meaningful to future generations and preserve Dakota identity. Their discernment of modern and traditional work, modern works that preserve the traditional and those which depart from it is studied.

Some of the discussion centers on bows and arrows in the collection. There are bows of all sizes, some smaller and clearly for children. Some arrows are blunted for shooting birds or playing games. “There is a lot to tell from them,” notes Red Eagle as he “reads” how particular artifacts were probably used in war or hunting, teaching youth or playing games. He points out buffalo and sheep horn composites added to some bows in the collection to make them heavier, have more give and be less likely to break if overdrawn.

The visit of Red Eagle to the Aktá Lakota Museum is poignant in their shared mission. A longing for tradition brought Montana-born Red Eagle back to Waubay, S.D., some five years ago. An enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, he wanted to learn his language and, as an artist, both preserve and pass on traditional Dakota culture to Dakota youth. The Aktá Lakota Museum shares this objective and is grateful for the partnership.

You can visit the Aktá Lakota Museum website by clicking here.

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