Native powwow

Experience Indigenous Culture

History Lives With the People, Not On a Page

In South Dakota, you will find vibrant nations of Indigenous people with a deep connection to their culture and land. The Oceti Sakowin — home of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribal communities and their relatives — is open to respectful travelers ready to learn more about this beautiful culture and rich heritage. When you come here, you’ll find history lives with the people, not on a page.

Featured Locations
Woman viewing Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial

Located in the Paha Sapa (Black Hills), Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest in-progress mountain carving. Along with the mountain sculpture, visitors can also experience THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER® and THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA®, featuring collections from over 300 Native nations.

The Dignity statue stands in front of clouds through which the sun shines through
Dignity: Of Earth & Sky

Perched on a Missouri River bluff, Dignity pays tribute to the tribal nations living in South Dakota. You’ll find this awe-inspiring 50-foot, stainless steel sculpture next to Interstate 90 Welcome Center near Chamberlain.

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Bear Butte State Park
Bear Butte State Park

Bear Butte State Park holds significant meaning to Indigenous people nationwide. Known in Lakota as “Mato Paha” or “Bear Mountain,” this geological wonder in the Black Hills is a sacred place of worship and the site of many religious ceremonies. You may see prayer cloths and small pouches tied to trees. These are considered prayer offerings, and visitors are asked to be respectful and leave them untouched.

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The sun sets behind Black Elk Peak in Custer State Park
Black Elk Peak

The view from the summit of the 7,242-foot Black Elk Peak, the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains, can only be described as breathtaking. It was atop this peak that Lakota medicine man Black Elk had his powerful vision of the future for the Indigenous communities. The trail to the summit is considered one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the Black Hills.

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Green leaves pop around flowing water
Sica Hollow State Park

Sica Hollow State Park, 15 miles northwest of Sisseton, draws adventure-seeking travelers year-round. The Indigenous people named the hollow “bad” because of ancient stories about its dark and damp ravines. Even today, many natural occurrences, like glowing swamp gasses and tree stumps, intrigue visitors and further fuel the legends. 

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Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
Good Earth State Park At Blood Run

Located near Sioux Falls, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run sits on the site of a tribal ceremonial gathering and trading center. It’s believed thousands of Indigenous communities lived and worshipped here, dating back 600 years. Good Earth at Blood Run is considered one of the oldest sites of long-term human habitation in the United States. 

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Visitor Etiquette

When you visit an Indigenous site or travel to tribal lands in South Dakota, it is essential to remember you are entering another nation with its own cultural practices. Please observe the following etiquette:

  • Always ask permission before taking pictures, videos or audio recordings.
  • Do not disturb sacred sites or remove/touch offerings like bundles, pipes, prayer cloths or other sacrificial items.
  • Remains and artifacts are protected by the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, do not take them with you or you could face stiff federal fines.
  • Some communities have specific and different dress and moral conduct policies at ceremonies or events. Inappropriate behavior or dress is considered offensive. Please know these policies before attending. 
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Hear Our Stories

Indigenous music is a soul-stirring experience where traditional and modern songs reveal stories and experiences passed down from generation to generation.

Through the Eyes of Visitors

Follow real visitors across our state as they experience our culture.

Tribal Nations Passport

So much South Dakota history, so little time. Use our Tribal Nations Passport to discover locations where you can see and feel the heritage of those who came before us.

Planning Resources
Native American woman standing in field at sunset
Guide to Tribal Nations

This free guide will further inform you and inspire you. 

Buffalo along Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park

Receive monthly inspiration about places to see, activities to try, and upcoming events.

Sunset Black Elk Peak Fire Tower
Mobile Passports

Your guide to off-the-beaten-path sites, as well as South Dakota rewards.