Last week we managed to squeeze in some time for a family vacation so I have some new and exciting things to blog about! Finally! This vacation was a welcome respite from all the work and activities summer brings. But, because we have horses and still have more hay to put up, plus our county fair is right around the corner, we couldn’t be gone for long. So, we decided to venture north to our neighboring state, South Dakota. The hubby and I have been up to the Black Hills several times, but our kids had yet to experience the wonder and beauty the area has to offer.
We visited the most often visited spots like Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, but we also took a day to venture up to Deadwood. We’d been there several times but it had been quite a few years, and so we wanted to check out a site that was newer and hadn’t been there on our last trip about 12 – 15 years ago. That site was Kevin Costner’s TaTanka. Yes, I said Kevin Costner! If you love Dances With Wolves, you’ll love and appreciate TaTanka.
I have some pictures to share with you here, but unfortunately they aren’t as good as I’d hoped. We were there at the wrong time of day for the lighting to be conducive to getting the shots I wanted. But I have to tell you, these larger-than-life bronze sculptures depicting a buffalo jump are magnificent. They just took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Visit TaTanka and you’ll see 14 bison being pursued by three Native American riders and urging them over a cliff in a natural setting. Add in the background of the Black Hills and you’ve got a site to behold. Costner commissioned the sculptures with a local South Dakota artist and she did an amazing job of capturing the moment. It certainly inspired me and I’ve been dying to get back to writing.
During the time of filming Dances With Wolves, Costner fell in love with South Dakota and came to realize the injustices against the Native Americans. It was his goal to heal at least a bit of the bruised land and honor the Native Americans and the majestic Bison by showing the relationship they had. I feel he has accomplished that with both the sculpture and the beautiful educational center. Not only do you learn about the Lakota life from a true Lakota guide, but you have a chance to meet Stanley, a Bison Bull who graces the inside of the center. You’ll also see Native American artifacts, and get to see costumes from Dances With Wolves. On the grounds are also several of the TiPis used in the film.
So, if you are Costner fan, they say he visits a couple times each season, a fan of Dances With Wolves, love Native American Culture, or are just looking for some place new to travel, check out TaTanka. The center is open from mid-May through September. Check out their web site, www.storyofthebison.com for more info.
Okay, now it’s back to the grind! See you at the end of the month.