“Dignity” Statue Joins Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

August 7, 2020 at 5:21 pm

A 2-ton stainless steel statue of a Sioux woman now honors the Lakota and Dakota natives of South Dakota

A giant stainless steel statue of a Native American woman now stands guard over the Missouri River in the middle of South Dakota.

The 50-foot beauty soars over highway 90, between exits 263 and 265, on a bluff between the Black Hills and the state’s wide-open prairies.

Like the Native American Statue of Liberty, “Dignity” serves as a reminder of the ”courage, perseverance and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota culture.”

“My hope is that the sculpture might serve as a symbol of respect and promise for the future,” sculptor Dale Lamphere said.

The statue was a $1 million gift from Norm and Eunabel McKie of Rapid City to all people of South Dakota for the state’s 125th anniversary. Norm McKie joked that “it’s not always easy to spend a million dollars” but, when the idea of Dignity was proposed, he said he was “all smiles.”

“This gift will mean a lot to South Dakota,” said Governor Daugaard. “In addition to being the state of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, South Dakota will also be the state of the Dignity statue.”

The sculptor used three Native American models ages 14, 29 and 55 to perfect the face of Dignity.

The statue wears a dress patterned after a two-hide Native dress of the 1850s. She gracefully holds an outstretched quilt decorated with 4-foot turquoise and blue glass diamonds that represent the water and sky.

The flexible quilt is designed to flutter in the wind, allowing stained-glass star pieces to glitter in the sun.  At night, the statue is illuminated with LED lights.


The statue, which represents peace and tolerance, is meant to memorialize not only the local Lakota and Dakota tribes, but all indigenous Americans, with the names of every federally recognized tribe inscribed around her feet.

RELATED: Monument of Native American Hero “Crazy Horse” Slowly Taking Shape in South Dakota