BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The 25th Annual Tribal Leaders Summit in Bismarck kicked off on Tuesday.
The Summit attracts approximately 700 attendees who represent tribal leadership, and federal and state partners, from throughout the Great Plains and Indian Country.
“And it’s coming together as a tribe. Being able to work on different issues in education. Issues that are happening back in D.C,” said Darla Pikyavit.
The event also gives vendors a chance to participate and showcase their art.
Pikyavit is a vendor and will be presenting a presentation tomorrow.
Pikyavit will be talking about the medicine wheel which is symbolic of balancing tradition while learning to navigate the modern world.
“As we know the circle has no beginning and no end,” said Pikyavit. “I will be focusing on the circle itself. And learning to balance in those four human dynamics. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.”
In her booth, you’ll find unique paintings that aren’t painted on blank pieces of paper. This is what is called ledger art.
The significance of ledger art goes back to the 1800s.
Paper wasn’t readily available for tribes so had to take whatever they could for paper. This is why if you visit this booth you’ll see paintings on ledgers and even music paper.
“Some of these things were the only things that we found to do our artwork on to preserve some of the stories and legends we have,” said Pikyavit.
A lot of the artwork presented shows local tribes’ beliefs and customs.
“Hunting, battles courtships, and of course other tribal events,” said Wallace “Butch” Thunder Hawk Jr., a ledger painter.
Many paintings show a blue horse which has a special significance to the Plains Indians.
“They associate that blue color with our direction west,” said Butch. “So the color is blue or black to represent the West. And the West has a lot of destructive forces. So that horse has a connection with thunder, lightning, power, and strength.”
Pikyavit says it’s important for tribes to come together and discuss issues that they are facing which is what the Summit is all about.