There is magic in Alden No Moccasin's hands. And maybe a better future, too.
For years, the 32-year-old Manderson native has managed to drink his way into the kind of trouble that landed him in the Pennington County Jail. Now he is painting his way out.
"It's very stress relieving," No Moccasin says of his art. "Whenever I draw, it's like, whatever I see in my head I can put on paper."
He can also put it on walls, as he did recently in the booking area of the jail. As the inmate artist selected to depict images of corrections, freedom and the military, No Moccasin impressed his jailers and distinguished himself with masterful expression. The staff like his first mural so well they asked him to pain another.
Next comes a bigger project -- alcohol treatment and a coming release from jail that he hopes will lead to more painting and much less trouble.
It hasn't been that way in the past.
"Hopefully everything goes the way it's planned," he said. "I mean, you know, in the past, a lot of things didn't go the way they were planned, but this time I'm pretty optimistic about how things are going."
His jailers hope the self-esteem boost from the murals will help No Moccasin succeed in the complicated world beyond bars.
"He's a good kid. You know, he just made some bad choices on the outside," Sgt. Mike Wojcik of the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said. "So, we'd love to see these feel-good stories come to something."
For Alden No Moccasin that something would be living life as well as he paints it.