Native American Day celebration in the Black Hills

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. (KOTA TV) - "Today is the 29th annual Native Americans Day celebration here at Crazy Horse Memorial," said CEO of Crazy Horse Jadwiga Ziolkowski. "In 1989 Governor Mickelson signed a proclamation claiming Native Americans Day instead of Columbus Day is what we would celebrate in South Dakota."

Starr Chief Eagle finishing up a traditional dance.

The celebration started at ten Monday morning with guest speakers, performers, and a crowd.

Among the crowd was Whitney Rencountre who was recognized for his significant contributions to Native American education.

"It's hard to do better if you don't know better. So when we educate one another and teach and share and collaborate," said Rencountre. "It helps us to build the bridges that are needed to grow, to make things better in our communities."

Education was a topic throughout the presentations as well as the importance of traditional dancing to Native American culture.

Starr Chief Eagle brought up kids from the audience to give them a fun hands-on learning experience with a good message behind it.

"The hoop dance is about healing, unity, positivity," said Chief Eagle. "It is about being a good relative, treating each other like a good relative. It is a belief, a practice that's been held by the Lakota and Oceti Sakowin people."

Unity is important to Dave Flute, the Cabinet Secretary for Tribal Relations in South Dakota.

"For our governor and our legislative bodies to recognize this day as Native American Day is important," said Flute. "It's important to Native Americans especially those that value working together with other political governments and just being a good partner."