All posts by Donovin Sprague

I am Donovin Sprague and I work with the Prairie Edge Book & Music store. I am an enrolled Minnicoujou Lakota and was born and raised on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. I am also a university instructor, author of seven published books, musician, and a historian. I have contributed to over 50 books and publications throughout the world. I am affiliated with Black Hills State University and the University of Iowa where I teach in American Indian studies, American Indian health, and conduct historic tours. Some of the classes I teach include undergraduate and graduate studies. In art, I teach bead work, quill work, & feather work. I also hand carve Lakota aromatic cedar flutes and make bows.

At Black Hills State University one of the classes I teach is Traditional Lakota Arts which includes learning basic techniques of beadwork, quillwork, and featherwork. If you are involved in the arts and crafts, can you cite someone who was instrumental in generating interest in areas such as beading and quillwork?  Most people started with someone who influenced them and lended a helping hand.  Did this influence your style, designs and colors?

We are proud to welcome Oglala Lakota artist Marty Cuny to our Native Gallery!

Personally, I am very excited to have Marty’s work in the gallery. His experience and emotion shines through in the incredible detail he puts into his work – from the custom fit leather clothing, tiny beaded moccasins, or the spirited horses, each piece tells the story captured in its title.

Native American warriors on horses

Warriors of the Seven Campfires of the Great Sioux Nation

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Paul Goble print, Sisters with Blankets

Sisters with Blankets by Paul Goble

While the role of Lakota men has been documented in stories, paintings, and songs, one must ask “What about the women?”

What was their role?

If they were not on the buffalo hunts and war parties, what were they doing?

The truth is they were in fact on the buffalo hunts and they did prepare for and recover from war. They followed the hunters and processed the buffalo in the field. They worked the hides that would cover their lodges and they dried the meat that would feed their families. They passed down knowledge to their children in the songs and stories they shared while working side by side.

The stories told by these women spoke of love, devotion to family, visits by animal spirits, and the gifts from Creator. The children listened and learned about their place in the Sacred Circle.

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Native American buffalo robe painting of Battle of Little Big Horn

"Little Big Horn" buffalo robe by Mike McLeod

June 25 and 26, 1876 witnessed one of the most decisive battles in U.S. history.

The 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army led by Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer along with an estimated 800 Native warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes engaged in this merciless battle along the Big Horn River.

This was known as the Battle of Little Big Horn to many, but to some Native Americans, it is remembered as the Battle of Greasy Grass.

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