The Buechel Lakota Memorial Museum has the largest collection of Lakota artifacts on the Rosebud. In fact, I'm told that the collection is second only to the Smithsonian.
Every summer there is a steady stream of visitors from around the world. Last year over 1,200 people from thirty-three different states and eleven countries came. This summer is no exception.
Maria Kills In Sight has been the museum director since 2007. She has a wealth of knowledge about our collection and Lakota culture and is always ready to share it with visitors and tour groups that come. She told me: "We are so fortunate to have a collection that is all of the Lakota culture and the only museum in South Dakota that has a large quantity of old artifacts collected by the founder, Fr. Eugene Buechel, SJ.
A few of her favorites include:
THE WINTER COUNT ROOM
We have several of these "Lakota calendars" on which were recorded with a simple picture a significant even in the life of the tribe during the previous year.
AN ELK TOOTH DRESS
I always marvel at the courage of the dentist who extracted the teeth to decorate this traditional dress. Just kidding! But it is amazing to see how the teeth are used to make a simple black dress quite beautiful.
JOHNNY CASH'S GUITAR
The great song-writer and musician gave two concerts in the gym of the old Mission school and after the last one he left us his guitar and its case replete with airline tags.
HORSE-DRAWN CAR PHOTO
An old photograph of a horse pulling Fr. Beuchel's car out of a snow drift.
Maybe one day we'll be able to put together a coffee table book with photos and explanations of some of our priceless collection.
Our museum carries on the great work of Jesuit Father Buechel who saw the beauty of Lakota culture and language and worked to preserve them. The world would be much poorer and less beautiful without them.
Keeping the museum open for visitors, answering inquiries and questions, and periodically changing the exhibits -- all this requires a staff. We don't charge admission and depend solely on donations, so your help is always much appreciated.
If you are ever in the area, please make sure you stop by to see us.