Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Music, Dance, and Art Take Stage at June 19 We the Many Arts Festival


Last updated 6/17/2021 at 1:44pm

After more than a year of sharing, dreaming and creating by area artists, the “We the Many” Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the SWO Memorial Park located on-half mile south of Sisseton on BIA 700. The event will be free and open to the public. Bring your own chairs or blankets to enjoy the stage entertainment in the shade of the park. A tent and the park shelter will also provide sun protection.

We The Many is a pilot project of the Sisseton Arts Council and Arts Midwest that seeks to expand the understanding of what it means to be a Midwesterner through the creative exchange of voices, cultures and ideas. Project Artist Alex Barreto Hathaway said, “Through learning and creating from our diverse stories, we plant seeds for future generations to harvest.”

The We the Many Arts Festival is sponsored by the Sisseton Arts Council, with support from Arts Midwest, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the South Dakota Arts Council.

Featured Performers

The We the Many Arts Festival on June 19 will get off to a special start at 11 a.m. with the peaceful music of the red cedar flute played by Bryan Akipa, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. In 2016 Bryan received the highest award given in our country for folk and traditional arts – the National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, and in 2017 he was given the South Dakota Living Indian Treasure award at the Governor’s Award in the Arts.

Around 1:00 p.m., Starr Chief Eagle will bring her 25 years of hoop dancing experience to the We the Many Arts Festival stage. An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Starr learned the art of hoop dancing from her father, Dallas Chief Eagle, and has performed all over the world. Her performance is both educational and interactive for the audience.

Project Artist Alex Barreto Hathaway of Minneapolis, MN, will also be entertaining with music, singing and puppetry.

Local musicians on the performance schedule include Georgia Streier, Derrick Lawrence, Melanie Yost, Olivia Bartnick, Josh Anderson and Janeen Kohl. They gained the name Barn Owl performers from their involvement in We the Many on-line music events called Barn Owl Sessions that have taken place over the past year.

Local artist Alexis Monroe will also have a “pop-up station” on the grounds where festival goers can try their hand at making their own art.

Food and beverages will be available to purchase on-site from Wota Was’te and other local food vendors.

Art prints, CDs and booklets

In the fall of 2020, 12 local We the Many team members interviewed 30 individuals from the Sisseton, Agency Village and Veblen area. Their stories inspired visual art, photography and music that was created by local artists. Prints and notecards made from the original artwork will be available for sale during the festival. CDs of music and lyrics inspired by the stories were created by Patrick Jenkins and will also be available for sale. All proceeds from the CD sales will be donated to the Sisseton Food Pantry.

The We the Many team developed a booklet that creatively highlights quotes from the 30 interviewees and artwork that their stories inspired local artists to create. The booklet also encourages the reader to share his or her own stories of being a Midwesterner so our region can continue grow and learn from each other. Copies of the booklet will be available at the festival.

For more information about Sisseton’s We the Many Project, visit the website: http://www.wethemanysd.com.

Sandi Jaspers

Sisseton, SD 57262


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