My bestie, Tracy Beeler, is White Stone Woman of the Lakota tribe so when we pulled in to a South Dakota rest area that featured the following statue, my jaw dropped and my heart nearly exploded with pride and love for the people that made this happen.
Dignity of Earth and Sky
“Standing at a crossroads, Dignity echoes the interaction of earth, sky, and people. She brings to light the beauty and promise of the indigenous peoples and cultures that still thrive on this land. My intent is to have the scultpure stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred, and in a sacred place.”
— a gift to the people of South Dakota from
The Norm and Eunabel McKie Family
–Sculptor and South Dakota Artist Laureate
Dale Claude Lamphere
From a sign inside the facilities lounge area …
“Dignity does not represent and one individual or tribe.
The entire sculpture is stainless steel.
Many Native people & engineers were consulted to be certain the work is culturally appropriate and structurally sound.
Her dress, leggings, & moccasins are patterned from 1850’s Native dress.
Three Lakota women were used as models for Dignity’s face.
Dignity is fifty feet tall, 32 feet wide, and 27,000 pounds.
She was built in the Badlands and was transported here in one piece.
A star quilt is one of the most valued gifts of the Dakota and Lakota people.
The 128 diamonds are 4 foot across and covered with 7 coats of paint.
LED lights within her highlight the diamonds on the quilt at night.
Flood lights are at the base to illuminate her.
Air flows the sculpture on all levels.”
She is located on Interstate 90 at a rest area above the Missouri River near Chamberlain, SD 57325. The sculpture is magnificent and meaningful, so much so that I found her to be worthy of a place in history and standing equal or beyond that of Mount Rushmore. Why she is at a rest area is mind boggling. At minimum, it is a spectacular and audacious beginning to honor the indigenous. Pictures don’t do it justice. Please go see her in person.
Post Publication Update: Canté, my friend Tracy’s Hunka niece, was one of the models for Dignity. Love, love, love.