Dignity of Earth & Sky, AKA Dignity, is a sculpture on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. The 50-foot high stainless steel statue, by South Dakota artist laureate Dale Lamphere, depicts an Indigenous woman in Plains-style dress receiving a star quilt.
The sculpture honors the culture of the Lakota and Dakota peoples who are indigenous to South Dakota.
The statue measures 50 feet (15.24m) high, 16 (4.88m) feet deep and 32 feet (9.75m) wide. The star quilt held by the woman has more than 100 blue diamond shapes that move in the wind “like an Aspen leaf”.
Three Native American women from Rapid City, SD served as the models for the sculpture. The artist began by first drawing the form and then sculpting a one-eighth-scale model. The sculpture was created in an isolated area near the Cheyenne River, east of Rapid City, SD, and later moved to the installation site.
The statue boldly proclaims that South Dakota’s Native cultures are alive, standing with dignity.
Artist Lamphere’s plan is to put the name of every federally recognized tribe on a stainless steel band around the base of the statue. He said, “I wanted something that would really honor the indigenous people of the Great Plains and I kept that in mind all the time. I made the work reflect the name that it has of “Dignity, and I think that’s part of what makes it work so well.