Tatanka: Story of the Bison
Tatanka: Story of the Bison (Hwy. 85 one mile north of Deadwood, 605/584-5678, www.storyofthebison.com, May 15–Sept. 30 daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., closed rest of year, adult $7.50, child $5.50) is a facility dedicated to the history of the bison and the native culture built around it.
The facility includes a dramatic sculpture by local artist Peggy Detmers of 14 life-sized bison pursued by three Native Americans on horseback, an interactive interpretive center, a gift shop featuring the arts and crafts of Native American and regional artists, and a snack bar. Start a visit at the center by viewing the 20-minute DVD that runs throughout the day in a small theater; it covers the creation of the sculpture and the mission of the center. Created by actor Kevin Costner to serve as an education center, the Tatanka Story is an interesting approach to learning about the culture and social history of a people.
On the simplest level, just about everything you’d ever want to know about the bison is explained. Beyond that, interpreters and displays demonstrate how native culture depended on the bison for food, clothing, and housing, and how the near extinction of the bison affected the native peoples. Artifacts including tipis, sinew, and clothing are displayed to support the discussion, and Native American interpreters are on hand to answer any questions.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition