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Oct 25, 2023

Maȟpíya Lúta hosts Honoring Tȟatȟáŋká Oyáte event


On September 30th, Maȟpíya Lúta, in partnership with South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Tanka Fund, hosted an Honoring Tȟatȟáŋká Oyáte event which brought together over 230 people eager to celebrate and learn about the historical, cultural, and contemporary impact of the buffalo. Taking center stage was the screening of two upcoming documentaries on buffalo: “The American Buffalo” and “Tatanka: A Way of Life”.

“The American Buffalo”, the newest documentary from Ken Burns, is a two-part, four-hour series, that takes viewers on a journey through more than 10,000 years of North American history and across some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes, tracing the buffalo’s evolution, its significance to the Indigenous people and landscape of the Great Plains, its near extinction, and the efforts to bring the buffalo back from the brink.

The second documentary, “Tatanka: A Way of Life’, is a documentary produced by South Dakota Public Broadcasting and features Maȟpíya Lúta students and our buffalo harvest. This documentary was done in conjunction with “The American Buffalo”, and highlights the relationship between Native people of South Dakota and the buffalo.

These screenings served as a catalyst for the remainder of the festival’s subsequent activities. Following the screenings, a panel of tribal buffalo producers shed light on their efforts revitalizing buffalo in tribal communities. The festival also featured a student-led traditional Lakota hand games demonstration,plant discovery walks by our Food Sovereignty program, and other attractions like a bouncy house, face painting, balloon animals, and information booths from other community organizations.The culinary experience was enriched by The Hangry Buffalo, a Native-owned food truck, offering bison street tacos among other options. The day was closed out with drum group Cante Tiza and a round dance which brought community members together.

It was a beautiful, warm Fall day spent celebrating our relationship with our buffalo relatives. We encourage you to check out both documentaries, each of which has now officially premiered on public television and available online.

Learn more about The American Buffalo and find local show times at:

You can watch Tatanka: A Way of Life at:

SDPB recorded the Honoring Tȟatȟáŋká Oyáte Event, to watch: