South Dakota is home to nine Native American tribes, and Monday is a day to honor them.
The Rushmore State is one of several in the U.S. celebrating different versions of Native Americans’ Day.
South Dakota lawmakers adopted legislation nearly 30 years ago, changing Columbus Day to what it’s now called today.
A symbol of Native American culture stands tall in Chamberlain.
It’s called Dignity: of Earth and Sky.
Dale Lamphere created the 50-foot-tall statue along I-90.
The sculptor used three Native American models to create the face of Dignity.
Scott Olson is passing through the Chamberlain area on his way to the Black Hills.
He didn’t know he would be greeted by a towering statue at the rest stop along the interstate.
“I wasn’t actually familiar with Dignity until I drove up the ramp and I saw it,” Traveler Scott Olson said.
A sculptor himself, he knows a work of art when he sees one.
“Impressive, impressive, impressive statue,” Olson said.
It’s a similar reaction from others who are seeing the stainless steel Native American woman for the first time.
“This magnificent statue represents everything South Dakota is about, so we’re really glad we came. She’s beautiful,” Traveler Loucinda Carlton said.
While some travelers happen to be discovering her on a day when the state is honoring Native Americans, some South Dakotans made a point to visit.
“Since it’s Native American Day, what a great thing to do. It’s a statue and I actually love the star quilt that she’s holding,” Arlyn Coalter of Sioux Falls said.
While Olson only gets part of his morning to spend with Dignity, it’s still enough time for her to speak to him.
“You know, it doesn’t say, ‘Here’s a statue of a Native American woman.’ It’s a statue signifying a freedom that was–in my mind is lost,” Olson said.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Dignity yet, you can find her at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
That’s at the Chamberlain Rest Area between exits 263 and 265.