Sculpture Honors Women in Lakota Culture

During the summer season (or anytime during the year when the weather's nice) when people are out and about enjoying a stroll along our beautiful downtown area, we are often asked about the sculpture gracing our front entrance…

The 8 foot, 1700 pound bronze statue, called “Hunkayapi” or "Tying on the Eagle Plume", was created by local artist Dale Lamphere of Sturgis, SD and inspired by the Lakota naming ceremony (known as Hunkayapi or making of relatives), a time when the ancestry of each person is remembered, a new name is given, and future relations are celebrated.

The sculpture depicts an elder Lakota woman, an Unci (Grandmother) adding the first eagle plume to the hair of a young girl as she is being prepared for the ceremony.

In beautiful detail, the artist has dressed the Grandmother in a traditional cowry shell dress covered with a buffalo robe; the young girl wears a traditional buckskin dress and is also wrapped in a buffalo robe.

The sculpture captures the wisdom of a Lakota elder and her cultural pride as she teaches her heritage to the next generation. With deep emotions, their faces show their fondness for one another and the strength of their relationship…which also reflects the warmth of the Lakota family.

We chose this sculpture because it tells of the importance of women in Lakota culture and the wisdom, dignity, and pride that Native people carry forward through their their traditions and ceremonies.