‘It feels like we’re bringing back our culture’: 2nd Annual Native American Day Parade

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.– Native American day has been a tradition for almost 30 years, but there’s a fairly new celebration for it in downtown Sioux Falls.

More than 30 organizations registered to be in the 2nd annual Native American Day parade. Tribes from all over the region came to dance, sing and advocate with hundreds of people coming out to watch.

Grand Marshal, Karla Abbott says, “Being the fact that it’s the second parade in Sioux Falls is really historic as well.” This parade is doing more than making history, it’s instilling pride and culture for the future, within the younger generations.

“We have a lot of youth suicide in our Native American reservations. So, we need to bring back that pride of your heritage and your culture,” says Abbott.

And some of the youngest members in the parade said exactly that.

“It feels like we’re bringing back our culture,” says Ilea, a young Native American dancer in the parade.

“I’m a grass dancer and my mom made all this,” says Isaiah, “It feels like we’re just bringing back the people… bringing our people back together.”

Jerald Red Buffalo, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe member, says, “It’s really prideful for us, you know, to show us who we are. We’ve been pushed under the rug for a long time and it just gives us a chance to be free with our culture and our identity.”

It’s an identity that’s required healing from history and a culture that’s waited a long time to celebrate a day like this.

“I talked with a Lakota elder this morning and I said ‘Did you ever think there would be a Native American Day parade in Sioux Falls?’ and he said ‘To be honest I didn’t think there would ever be this,’ ” says Abbott.

With nine federally recognized Native American tribes in South Dakota, this parade is a way to bring everyone together.

“It’s awesome that this parade exists down here now, so that’s why we took the time out of our lives to come travel down here and take part in it,” says Red Buffalo.

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