The Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin Exhibition 


Inspired by the voices and perspectives of the Šúŋka Wakȟáŋ Oyáte (Horse Nation) gathered through community informed processes, we respectfully called on the Artists of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to represent their culture, relatives, homelands, and Oyáte by contributing original, compelling artworks purely inspired by aesthetic, not commerce, in relation to and inspired by the “Horse Nation” of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to be exhibited on behalf of the Ikčé Oyáte (Common Nation) of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ.

The resulting exhibition, The Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, explores how horses have shaped the history, spirituality, and culture of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ or Seven Council Fires. The collection of more than 100 original works—including paintings, sculpture, beadwork, and more—opened at The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School on September 22, 2016. Since then, the exhibition has been traveling to museums and galleries across the country:

The Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City, SD — December 2016 to March 2017
The South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD — April to August 2017
The Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney, NE — September to December 2017
The Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND — February to May 2018
Minneapolis Institute of Art & All My Relations Gallery, Minneapolis, MN — June 2018 to March 2019

The exhibit expands on the (2014) film made by Keith BraveHeart titled We Are A Horse Nation, about the Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. It presents an authentic voice and positive perspective regarding the people of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and their cultural relations and philosophies of the “Horse Nation.” It also transformed The Heritage Center’s curatorial processes from a top-down institution-led practice to a grassroots, community-influenced process. To schedule the exhibition at your museum, please contact The Heritage Center’s director Mary Maxon at

Watch and learn more:



The Evolution of an Exhibition: Community Voices Help to Define the Horse Nation


A “Horse Nation” on the Rise: Major Grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation Support Innovative Exhibition