CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. — A celebration of Native American Day was held at Crazy Horse Memorial on Monday.
It was the 30th annual recognition of the day at the memorial, starting with Governor George Mickelson’s proclamation in 1990.
The event’s MC, Custer Mayor Corbin Herman, presided over presentations of Native American songs and dances, exposing many to native culture for the first time.
“Native Americans are still alive and breathing and well,” said singer Gabrielle Knife-Pederson. “We have a living breathing culture, we are our culture, and the fact that we are still striving towards grasping our identity and grasping our language and our culture and carrying that with us. And we do have a lot to offer as far as knowledge and wisdom with a lot of different other cultures as well.”
Also held on Monday, the Crazy Horse Memorial’s Educator of the Year was named.
The winner, Jill Kessler, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux, is also a Counselor at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School.
“We have the privilege of working with a lot of different counselors and when I was asked who to nominate this year, she came to mind first just because of her dedication towards her students,” said Dr. John Little, the Director of Indian University in North America. “She’s always working on getting them prepared for college and whatever their dreams are. And so just a really easy easy selection this year.”
The celebrations concluded with a free buffalo stew lunch made possible through donations from Korczak’s Heritage, The Laughing Water Restaurant and Custer State Park.