South Dakota has a new landmark of which it’s proud. This sculpture is known as “The Dignity of Earth & Sky”, or Dignity, and was completed in 2016. It’s located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. Dignity is easily accessed as it adjoins a freeway rest area and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
Dignity is sculpture of a Native American woman which is crafted of stainless steel and glass. Towering 50-foot-tall, her outstretched arms hold a quilt featuring 128 blue and white glass diamond shapes that flutter in the wind. At night, LED lights make the diamond shapes glow (something we did not see).
When he was designing Dignity, sculptor Dale Lamphere wanted to create something that would honor the indigenous people (Lakota and Dakota) of the Great Plains. It was the artist’s intention that Dignity serve not only as a symbol of respect, but a promise for the future.
The statue was paid for by a $1 million gift from Norm and Eunabel McKie of Rapid City — a gift to all the people of South Dakota made in 2014 for the celebration of the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood.
There is no admission or parking fee to enjoy the statue or the adjoining Lewis and Clark Visitor Center. And, of course, the memorable views of the river and the Dakota plains are free.
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