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Initial response to a new Indigenous fashion show and music festival in Rapid City, S.D. has given its organizers a bit of a jolt.  

The first-of-its-kind one-day regional event — called “Culture Shock” — sold more than 4,000 tickets in its first week. The April 15 show at The Monument in Rapid City will feature seven renowned Native American designers, 60 models and performances by 29 Indigenous musicians, rappers, DJs and artists.   

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Strong ticket sales, artist engagement and solid sponsorship participation have been encouraging, according to Festival Director Dolton Buckman (Cheyenne River Sioux), who told Native News Online the goal was to build community and create something positive for the region’s Native American community.  “I wanted to give an outlet for the community to go to,” he said. 

In the last few years, the region has seen an uptick of violent crime including more Indigenous people being reported as missing. 

“We’ve recently had one of our highest rates in our city for Indigenous people going missing, or getting murdered,” Madonna Rose, who’s also helping organize the event, told Native News Online. “The local area has been going through quite a bit. I was in total support when Dalton reached out to help him organize an event that is positive and full of opportunities for the community.”

The result is a one-day showcase of some of the country's best-known Indigenous fashion designers, models, clothing, musicians, and more. More than 60 Indigenous models are registered for the fashion show, which will feature designs by  Norma Baker-Flyinghorse of Red Berry Woman, Kayla Looking Horse, Sweet Sage Woman, Rebekah Jarvey and more. 

“The event outreach was insane and it was so beautiful to see everyone come together,” said Rose, who’s organizing the fashion show. 

The venue—The Monument—was chosen because Buckman currently works in marketing for the Rapid City Marshalls, who play in The Summit Arena, which is the $130 million addition to the main event center in the region. The Summit Arena has seating for 10,000, and hosts the annual Black Hills Powwow and the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo.

Buckman thought since he worked with arena staff that he would pitch the idea for a one-day event. “When I asked them, they were more than happy,” said Buckman of the venue. 

Organizers said they want to make connections while highlighting Indigenous people and culture. 

“Dalton brought in people from all kinds of backgrounds and nationalities as well,” said Rose of Buckman. “The talent of this event is amazing, from our most cherished artists to people just starting out, there’s something for everyone to see.”

The music festival showcases more than 30 musicians including several Native American Music Award winners Antione Edwards, Gunner Jules, Terrance Jade, Nightshield, Fawn Wood, B. Of South Dakota Records, and many more.

“Čantemawašte, my heart is so happy,” South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn Foster, who is listed as a special guest for the event, said in an interview with Native News Online. “It feels good to witness this convergence of Indigenous excellence, and knowing that it's created and produced by one of our own in our homelands makes this moment even sweeter.” 

The event had a budget of $50,000 and included contributions by many local organizations including NDN Collective, Weather-Tite Exteriors, One Spirit, Oyate Health Center, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Teton Times, Main Street Cannabis, Sicangu Company, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, and others.

The event’s sponsors covered artist fees, including travel and lodging, venue fees, and marketing for the event. Buckman said he is personally covering the rest. 

For tickets or more information about Culture Shock visit the Monument’s website.

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About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.