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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Painter Van St. John and daughter examine woolen dress by Jackie Parsons
Painter Van St. John and daughter Jane (Crow Creek Sioux) examine a woolen dress by Jackie Parsons (Blackfeet), September 1999 Photo: Ginny Freitag

Northern Plain Tribal Arts Expo

A Sioux Falls event held annually on a weekend in September to showcase the art of approximately 100 Native American artists from 33 tribes of the Northern Plains states. The Northern Plains Tribal Art Expo has attracted about 5,000 visitors annually, including art collectors from around the world and nationally acclaimed experts in the field of Native American art to act as judges in the juried show. As well as the juried art show, the celebration hosts educational lectures on tribal heritage and art, a diverse market, and traditional wacipi ( powwow ). Each year an artist is selected whose work is featured on posters, brochures, and T-shirts, and cash prizes and ribbons are awarded to the outstanding artist in each division in the categories Best of Fine Arts and Best of Tribal Arts.

The Art Expo is sponsored by American Indian Services, an organization who works to promote understanding and acceptance of Native American people and their unique heritage, values and concerns and to develop and implement programs that will provide Native American peoples the opportunity to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency. The Expo's origins can also be traced in part to the growing awareness of the possibility that some traditional arts and crafts were being lost with the passage of time.

Project documentation includes a 31-page report, eleven 8 x 10 photographs and 19 slides, posters, an audio tape (and CD) of oral history interviews with Native American artists (1999), transcripts of the interviews, a video of the 1990 Expo, promotional brochures from the shows (1988-1999), and a report prepared by the Archeology Lab of Augustana College in Sioux Falls on the feasibility of establishing a small business in the area of Native American arts/crafts of the Northern Plains tribes.

Originally submitted by: Tim Johnson, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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