Advantages facts from a native Lakaota , Amazing sculpture, fascinating museum displays
Disadvantages None that I can think of
|Is it worth visiting?|
Initially we were not sure whether to bother as there are so many museums and the like in the area but as we had been distinctly underwhelmed by deadwood we decided we would take a look at this ‘Story of the Bison’ known as Tatanka which in Lakota means ‘Bull Buffalo’ or ‘Big Buffalo’. This museum is a tribute to the history of the bison in the USA.TIMES AND PRICES:
WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?
This is Kevin Costner’s baby. He was very keen to set up a resort in the Black Hills as he was so awed by them when he first saw the area just after he left college. After making ‘Dances With Wolves’ he became more interested and moved by the story of the Native American Indians and in turn the role of the bison in that history. He spent a lot of time and money on his dream but it never really took off as he could get no one else interested.
Eventually Kevin Costner decided that the dream resort was not going to happen but he had the land and the statues so he decided upon this tribute museum using his statues and a huge number of artifacts from the local Indian people, the Lakota tribe.
I thought they were called buffalo. Well, no. ther only buffalo that exist are found in Southern Africa - the Cape buffalo or Asia. – the water buffalo. These plains animals are bison. It is believed that the name buffalo came from the French explorers who called them ‘les boefs’ meaning oxen or cows.There are two types of bison, the wood bison and the plains bison and the plains one is quite a lot smaller. We were lucky enough to see both types in our travels which we were really pleased about.
The next part of the visit was the most informative and educational. We were given a talk by a Lakota gentleman who dispelled a number of myths about the North America Indian tribes. Firstly their woman are not called squaws, apparently that means something quite insulting, their word is ‘winyan’ which means sun and something else. Women are VERY important to the Lakota people and the chief will not make any decision without consulting the women. If you make anything it belongs to you and as the women make most of the things in the tribe,most of their possessions are owned by the women of the tribe.
He also told us that the word ‘Sioux’ is insulting and came when the explorers asked the tribe in Canada what the next tribe were called they told them ‘Sioux’ what actually means ‘little snakes’ which is not a very flattering name.
He was very interesting and we were able to ask a lot of questions which put me straight on a lot of things I had thought before. We were given a small pack of information when we left about the Lakota people too which explained how every bit of the bison was used and a bit about the tribal groups, their beliefs and other information.Out we go then:
The statues are so life like and because they are set in landscape outside you can almost hear the thunder of hooves as the bison and horses chase down the plain. Music is piped through the museum and you can hear it a bit outside, it was playing music from the film ‘Dances with Wolves’ when we were there.BACK INSIDE:
In the centre is a huge stuffed Bison that you are invited to touch and have your photo taken next to him. Around this bison is a display of many artifacts from the Lakota people. Toys made from the bison’s bones, cups from the horns, moccasins from the leg leather, jewelery from the bone, water carriers from the stomach and so on.There were displays of the buckskin clothes. We were also told that male warriors wore armour made from pieces of bone that were horizontally across the chest while females wore the same bone pieces armour vertically.
FOOD AND DRINK:
There was a restaurant and a café but I can’t say what was on offer as we had eaten elsewhere and this was our last visit of the day so we were tired and wanting to get back to sort clothes and clean up so I am not even sure what the bathrooms were like but as every toilet we visited in the States was immaculate I would think these would be the same.
IS IT WORTH VISITING?
Yes I would say so. It was not the usual museum exhibits. There was a mixture of film, the fascinating talk by the Lakota gentleman and then real exhibits that you could actually touch as well as the usual ones behind glass. Finally the amazing life sized sculptures galloping across the hill were a sight to behold. It was a highlight of our day as we had been quite underwhelmed by Deadwood where we had spent the previous couple of hours so it was a welcome surprise.
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