The 2017 Lakota Art Camp wrapped-up last Friday with students adding the finishing touches to their parfleches (bags), icapsintes (quirts), modeling clay projects, tee shirts, painted turtles, a colorful buffalo sketch and their The White Buffalo Calf Woman graphic novels. Although there were some minor casualties (mainly limited to broken or detached limbs of various clay animals), no major tragedies developed and the imaginatively fashioned crafts were transferred from the Little Wound School’s art room to the adjacent hallway where they were proudly displayed.
Many of the students were joined by their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents who enjoyed seeing the fruits of the childrens’ labors on display before sharing in another delicious lunch featuring “Indian” tacos/wraps made with fry-bread prepared by Suzanne and her sisters.
Beautiful as the art projects may have been, and scrumptuous as the fry bread tacos definitely were, the highlight of the day was the debut of ROYGBIV Comes to Kyle, the students’ interpretation of the story of how all colors combine to make a rainbow. The drama was much enhanced by the addition of a microphone and speakers (courtesy of the Little Wound School and our “AV” team – aka Neil Straub), which enabled the small and, in some cases, shy voices to be heard loudly and clearly by all those in attendance.
Speaking of which – if attendance is any measure (and why would it not be?) – the 2017 Lakota Art Camp was the most successful in the five year history of the program. Two dozen or more students were on hand for all four days of the camp (recall that Tuesday’s activities were cancelled for a memorial service for the late Charlie Long Soldier) and more then three dozen children participated in at least one day of the Art Camp. Further attesting to the value of Art Camps-past, roughly half of the students were returnees; no less encouraging is the fact that the camp attracted more than a dozen new students, evidence of the Art Camp’s growing popularity as well as the community’s embrace of camp and its volunteer staff.
Following a traditional exchange of gifts among the volunteers and some of the parents, the staff busily de-constructed the art room, packing-up a portion of the supplies and equipment for transport back to Pittsburgh by Connolly Ground Freight (aka John Connolly’s Toyota Tundra). As usual, the remainder of the art supplies and an assortment of books for all ages were donated to the Little Wound School, and the left-over food was distributed among the families.
Later that afternoon, the Art Camp volunteers traveled to Rapid Cityfor a farewell dinner (and an adult beverage or two) at the Firehouse Brewing Company before a well-deserved rest at the sumptuous Motel 6. The following morning marked the start of the return journey to Pittsburgh while John Connolly and yours truly headed to the Black Hills to scour antique – aka junk – and rock shops in search of material for future Lakota craft projects before heading home (in John’s case) via the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.