With assistance from the AICF Restoration and Preservation of Traditional Native Art Forms and Knowledge Grant, SWC founded the Traditional Arts Workshop Program in 2014 as a way to reintroduce these art forms into the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and to develop new programs.
Since 2014, SWC has had 142 participants throughout seven workshops and a new instructor developed for traditional arts. Six Dakota and Lakota master artists have worked with SWC to offer eight workshops since 2014.
What will I learn?
You can start with Traditional Dakota Pottery. Students go out and dig their own clay from the earth, learning how to properly identify, clean and process it for use. You then learn three different traditional methods of creating your own pottery, finished by one of two original ways of firing your pieces.
Learn how to fashion a bow using ash staves, and you could become a master apprentice. One day you may find yourself instructing a class of your own on Native Art, like Jeremy Red Eagle, who has been prepared for a career in teaching bow-making at SWC, the very place where he learned it. So you coud learn how to smoke and tan a hide, where students take a role in each step of processing a deer. This is carried over into the parfleche construction course. There is also traditional flute-making, where students not only make two flutes, they also learn how to play them.