A three-day tribal art event is taking place at the Madison picnic area in Yellowstone National Park through Saturday, August 12.
“I wanted to remind you of our connection with the land and I want to thank you for giving us your attention, coming and being and sharing your day with us,” Michael Spears of Lakota said to the group of people in attendance.
This ceremony kicked off a tribal art and history presentation in the park.
“I ask you to think of this. Put it in your mind as you go through this, that you’ll feel a spiritual connection. Embrace that,” Northern Cheyenne Prayer Woman Marsha Small added.
“The blue one, if you spend about three or four minutes in there, the world is a different color,” Artist Ben Pease said.
Visiting these teepees near the Madison campground allows you to take a journey. A journey of understanding guided by the artists who explain what their artwork means and tell how it helps explain tribal history.
“But what would it look like if we arranged the same infrastructure for bison as we've done for cattle? What would the land look like if we reintroduced keystone species like the bison? Or keystone species like the beaver," Ben Pease said.
Ben Pease created a first-of-its-kind teepee exhibit made of mesh with bison sewn onto the fabric.
“They seem like they’re back on the land,” Ben Pease said.
“I thank you for being here, seeing us, hearing us. We hope to learn from you. We hope that what we share with you, you will carry. Help us tell the world who we are from our voice,” mother of Ben Pease and storyteller Linda Pease said.
“I just love to meet people. I love to meet people of different cultures and find out what's important to them. How do they live? You know, what, What makes them tick,” visitor Nancy Robins of North Carolina said.
“When I say when we used to be, I'm talking about how we used to live fluently in our language, in our ceremonies, in our ways of behavior, how we treated each other versus the ways that were drilled into us and into a world that we had to be forced to live in,” President of Aaniiih-Nakoda College and Arts Sean Chandler said.
People can filter through the displays, talk one on one with the artists, see artwork as it’s created, and listen to tribal storytellers.