Gallery replaces controversial statue

Author:
Updated:
Original:

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A Rapid City gallery has unveiled a new statue that will replace one that some felt was degrading to American Indians.

The old bronze statue, ''He Is, They Are'' by Glenna Goodacre, featured an Indian man with his hands tied behind his back and reflected the artist's feelings of when American Indians were put on reservations.

''Some people in the area Native American community felt this statue was degrading to Native Americans. We regret that,'' Ray Hillenbrand, owner of Prairie Edge Trading Co. and Galleries, said in a prepared statement.

The new statue, ''Hunkayapi,'' or ''Tying on the Eagle Plume,'' depicts an older Lakota woman placing a sacred eagle plume onto a younger woman.

Creator Dale Lamphere of Sturgis said the work depicts a Lakota naming ceremony in which the ancestry of each person is remembered, a new name given and future relations celebrated.

''My hope is that this sculpture portrays the wisdom, dignity and pride that Native people carry forward through their traditions and ceremonies,'' he said in a statement.

Hillenbrand and Prairie Edge general manager Dan Tribby said they are proud of the new statue, which reflects the warmth in Lakota families, the wisdom of a Lakota elder and the teaching of the Lakota heritage to the next generation.

Wendell Yellow Bull and Wayne Weston of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation's Akicita Institute released a statement supporting of the new statue.

''We of the Akicita Institute give sculptor Dale Lamphere and Prairie Edge our blessing on how this statue represents one of our timeless cultural ceremonies,'' they said in the statement.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.