PIERRE – Several events in Sioux Falls are planned to celebrate Native American Day.
Four years ago Rapid City held its first Native American Day Parade and organizers in Sioux Falls wanted to expand on those efforts by organizing a parade in the largest city in South Dakota.
The 2018 Native American Day Parade in Sioux Falls is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8 at 10:00 a.m.
Using the traditional parade route of Sioux Falls, the Native American Day Parade will begin on the corner of 13th St. and S. Phillips Ave. and will head north and end on 4th St. and N. Phillips Ave.
The Planning Committee has worked in close collaboration with the City of Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Police Department to make this event happen. Planning for the parade began in late July and will continue until the morning of the parade.
Several schools in the area have registered floats and the youth are enthused to be involved in this historical east river event. These schools include reservation based and urban programs which are working on teaching language, culture and traditional knowledge.
The theme of the parade is “Honoring Our Elders” and Tim Giago of Native Sun News Today has been chosen as the Grand Marshall for this first annual parade.
Immediately following the parade, volunteers and planning committee members along with their families will be gathering at the Sioux Falls Labor Temple to count the votes for the parade contests which include; Best School Spirit, Most Traditional, Best Kiddie Float, Best Arts & Entertainment, Most Humorous and All-Around Winner.
Plaques are being made for the winners by Planning Committee Member and Parade Sponsor, Lawrence West of Phade Vinyl, Heat and Press. Those in attendance will be served buffalo stew, fry bread and wojapi. The buffalo was a donation from the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The Juanita Beare and the Mothers of Traditions will be preparing the food in the early morning hours of the parade day. Mothers of Traditions is a program within the South Dakota Urban Indian Health of Sioux Falls.
Following the parade in Sioux Falls, Jerome Kills Small who will be doing Traditional Storytelling at the Sanford Medical Center Memorial Garden beginning at 12:00 p.m. Kills Small is an educated Lakota man from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and a descendant of Man Afraid of His Horse. He has been educated in two worlds; Native and non-Native.
Over the years, Kills Small has won numerous awards for his work in education and presenting Lakota culture in different venues. He conducts traditional ceremonies, has been an arena director for powwows including powwows in the South Dakota state prison system. Kills Small teaches about protocols during ceremonies and the origins behind the Lakota flag song and ceremony songs. Some of these songs are about Little Big Horn, Wounded Knee and Chief Big Foot. He is active in the Sioux Falls Native American community and helps to prepare ceremonial grounds for those who want to learn those traditional spiritual ways.
At 1:00 p.m. in the Sanford Medical Center Lobby, Hoop Dancer, Jackie Bird will be performing. During her performances, Bird tells the story of creation using over three dozen hoops which she forms into different shapes to create images which explain the relations between humans and environment. This includes creating shapes which represent birds and other animals. Jackie Bird has traveled the country performing as a dancer, singer and inspirational speaker. Her career has spanned several decades and her message has always been about healing and positive relationships between cultures.
The day’s events in Sioux Falls end with a powwow at the Multi-Cultural Center located at the downtown area at 515 N. Main Ave. The Native American Day Wacipi is free to the public and begins with a community dinner at 6 p.m. with Grand Entry happening at 7 p.m. The announcer for this powwow is Jerome Kills Small and the drum groups are Ironwing and Tiospa Zina Sisseton Wahpeton Drum Group. Sioux Falls educator, Bobby Johnson is organizing this event.
The Native American Day Parade in Sioux Falls has had a late start in the organizing and planning stages. The application for the parade was submitted in June, 2018 and approved in July, 2018. This late start has been a challenge for organizers. The Planning Committee was formed with local leaders in business, academics, elders and other organizers within the Native American community. Others have attempted to organize a parade in the past, but those plans have never come into fruition. The Planning Committee has chosen Monday, Oct. 8 as the day for the parade as this is the actual holiday. The committee wanted to make a statement with this day as much of the city does not celebrate this day as a holiday; including the Sioux Falls School District. School is in session for grade school, middle school and high school. The Planning Committee would like to see that changed in the future.
The Planning Committee includes longtime Sioux Falls resident and Native American wife and mother, Char Green-Maximo who “grew up in Sioux Falls” and is aware of the culture of the area and how Native Americans are viewed. “For me personally, this parade is really helping to change the culture of Sioux Falls. What I mean by that is that the Native Americans in Sioux Falls, for the first time, will be able to gather and share their culture with community members in a healthy way,” said Green-Maximo.
Events have been held over the years celebrating Native American culture. Several organizations have put on celebrations and the Planning Committee hopes to build on these efforts and make Native American Day in Sioux Falls a much recognized event and hopes to inspire other townships to do the same. The 30th anniversary of Native American Day as a state holiday is coming up in 2020.
“We have always had Native American Day Powwows, but this is different. This event will give youth, elders, and organizations/ businesses the opportunity to showcase who they are, what they represent,” said the planning committee member. “The culture is so beautiful and to build bridges and take away stereotypes, we have to share knowledge of who we are as a people with others.” Often times, tribal members in Sioux Falls feel overlooked by the general population and other minority groups are publicly more prevalent.
Green-Maximo feels it is part of her duty as a mother and tribal member to be a part of this historical event. “Above all, this is a time to honor our ancestors; those who fought for their way of life and for their people. I would not be here and all Natives would not be here if they did not take a stand. Now that we have that right, we must take advantage of that and honor our culture, our history, and tremendous work that that is still being done to ensure the well-being of our people,” said Green
The Planning Committee has expressed their gratitude towards the City of Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Police Department for their support in the planning of the parade. The committee looks forward to building a long-term relationship with the City and wants this parade to become a part of the culture of Sioux Falls.
“A lot of the time, I feel Sioux Falls Natives are overlooked and I am so proud to see more cultural activities and teaching being done in the community. This is a huge step to continue that movement,” closed Char Green-Maximo.
Native American Day began as part of the “Year of Reconciliation” in 1990. This monumental declaration by Governor George S. Michelson set forth the proposition that relations between Native Americans and non-Natives would begin to take precedence in South Dakota. The community of Sioux Falls, including city government officials and law enforcement, has supported this inaugural event. This event will continue where things left off in 1990 for the City of Sioux Falls.
(Contact Native Sun News Today Correspondent Richie Richards at email@example.com)