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New film on Wounded Knee asks ‘Why’

RAPID CITY – The title of this new film is one Lakota word: Takuwe. In English: Why. The film, created by filmmaker Dalton Coffey, is a video representation of a educational art exhibit by the same name that the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) developed and curated in 2018. For a preview of the film click here Takuwe the Film.

Takuwe the film was officially released on Native Americans’ Day.

Takuwe, the exhibit, has now closed. It focused on the 1890 massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee, and centered on reimagining the senseless slaughter of innocent children, women and men on December 29, 1890. The exhibit also included historical context leading to the massacre, along with contemporary context related to land issues and opportunities at Wounded Knee today.

Dr. Craig Howe, Director of CAIRNS, at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, was the driving force behind the exhibit.  Created by 46 contemporary Lakota artists, poets, and musicians, the exhibit responded to the tragedy through art, but also examined historic evidence in a search for answers. Takuwe consisted of educational panels, paintings, textiles, art objects and audio recordings of poems and songs. During a conversation with Howe he made the poignant statement that, “I hope attendees left the exhibit with an appreciation of the diversity within Lakota art, poetry and music, and an inquisitiveness that might suggest similarities between the killings of people of color today and the massacre of Lakota 130 years ago.”

When asked about the film, Howe commented that, “I hope that people who see the film will want to learn more about the exhibit. Though the exhibit is over, all of its content is available for free on the CAIRNS website, and there is a community-based version of the exhibit that can be rented and set up in almost any space. Plus, there is the ASD webinar for those interested in how the exhibit and film were created.”

For individuals wanting to learn more about Takuwe, both exhibit and film, Howe will give an in-depth look at TAKUWE during the 2020 VIRTUAL South Dakota State Conference at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, October 30, 2020.

The 2020 Virtual State Arts Conference will be a place to learn and network with others who share a connection to South Dakota’s cultural community. A variety of practical online sessions will be offered during the conference, with opportunities to acquire new skills to impact the arts in communities throughout the state. Sessions will be offered in over a dozen tracks, including community arts; professional development for artists and organizations; equity, inclusion and accessibility; arts education; rural arts; storytelling; tourism and the arts; fundraising and grant-writing; nonprofit arts; the arts and health; digital marketing; arts advocacy, and board development. Full details and more information on workshop presenters at this year’s State Arts Conference are available on the Arts South Dakota website,

“The sessions were chosen to provide inspiration to artists, arts advocates, community arts volunteers and our statewide arts organizations,” said conference coordinator Shari Kosel. “There’s truly something for everyone—experiences that our statewide arts community can use to chart a pathway to even greater success.” Registration is now open for all of the online sessions scheduled throughout the conference week-end.

For more information, contact Shari Kosel, Arts South Dakota Program & Communications Director, at or phone (605) 252-5979, Ext. 1.

Arts South Dakota, funded entirely by donor contributions and grants, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose primary purpose is to enrich the lives of South Dakotans and their visitors, by advancing the arts through service, education and advocacy. South Dakota Arts Council support is provided with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts South Dakota believes all individuals and communities deserve meaningful artistic experiences. The goal should be full inclusion of all people in all arts and humanities programs and facilities.



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