SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Native American culture and traditions were on display Sunday at Good Earth State Park for the Indigenous Artists of the Prairie event.
“It’s a really good reminder to connect with our Indigenous folks. With the music, the beautiful drum, heartbeat of the drum circle it just means a lot,” visitor Lisa Brunick said.
Along with the beating of the drums, you could also hear the sounds of carving.
Mark and Cindy Pederson have been carving stone for 59 years.
“We work for our grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. We all learn from each other. The elders taught us first, and then we keep on going and going and going,” Mark Pederson said.
The siblings both say the family practice makes them happy.
“And it’s tradition, and it just makes my hands happy, and I want to keep the tradition going,” Cindy Pederson said.
That tradition, they say, has been dying within the indigenous community.
“We don’t want to disappear, you know, our culture, because that is happening within a lot of other cultures because the young ones aren’t picking it up. They’re not participating, and so, it’s important to keep our cultures going,” Cindy Pederson said.
“We don’t want the art dying. Like the old saying is it’s not a dying art, it’s a renewing, keep-going-on art,” Mark Pederson said.
To combat this, the National Park Service has been trying to get more indigenous children involved.
“That way, pipe-carving can continue because the pipes are used in ceremony because the smoke carries their prayers up to heaven,” Cindy Pederson said.
The Pedersons say this is the second year they have participated in the event, and plan on coming to more in the future.