CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (KELO) — Some people celebrated Native Americans’ Day by taking pictures of “Dignity” along the Missouri River at Chamberlain. To Native Americans, the statue is something their kids and grandkids can look up to in more ways than one.
“To me, it means a lot,” said Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribal member Larry Halbert.
To Larry Halbert, this is more than just a statue. It’s a work of art that helps Native Americans take pride in their heritage.
“I belong to Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, I’m a tribal member and I just love it,” said Halbert
Halbert’s whole family gathered for a picture today at the base of Dignity. His daughter uses photographs of the statue to instill pride in her second-grade students in Sisseton.
“I actually took a picture of it last week and then showed my students. Many of them hadn’t seen it and they just thought that was amazing to see it. They were asking how to get up here and how to find it,” said Tammi Halbert.
“As a kid, we studied Native Americans a little bit as like part of history and that’s kind of how we viewed them as just a part of history and it should be part of current culture,” said Janet O’Connell from Aberdeen.
O’Connell says the statue makes her want to learn more about native culture.
“It’s very inspiring,” said Ella Mattocks.
Mattocks is a Native American from Pennsylvania.
“They hold a piece in history and we should recognize them,” said Mattocks.
Recognition that Halbert thinks is long overdue but he’s still glad to see it.
“It’s not very often that you see stuff like this specially dedicated to the Native American, so when you see something like that, it just makes me proud, it makes me happy,” said Larry Halbert.
“We’re all the same you know. It doesn’t matter what race we all are. We’re all the same, we’re all working toward making South Dakota a better place,” said Tammi Halbert.