A very young Grass Dancer in the Grades K-2 category at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals.

Christina Rose

A very young Grass Dancer in the Grades K-2 category at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals.

Scenes from South Dakota’s Annual Lakota Nation Invitational

The Lakota Nation Invitational is a series of tournaments held each year in Rapid City, S.D. Native students from schools from all over South Dakota participate in a variety of sports including basketball, archery, wrestling and cheerleading but also holds competitions for Lakota language, knowledge, fine arts, and hand games as well.

On December 19 – 22 the 36th Annual LNI held thousands of students who filled the stands and took part in the activities which is big difference from the event's humble beginnings. Since its small start in 1977, "each year, the Lakota Nation Invitational has grown," according to their site, "We have been proud of all the young people who have given their best as they compete in honor of their schools, families and respected nations from near and far. Their efforts are exceptional and they are the reason we all come together in the spirit of friendship and good will." 

Fancy Shawl dancer, Grades 3-5 category, at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals. (Courtesy: Christina Rose)

Courtesy: Christina Rose

Fancy Shawl dancer, Grades 3-5 category, at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals.

A very young Grass Dancer in the Grades K-2 category at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals. (Courtesy: Christina Rose)

Courtesy: Christina Rose

A very young Grass Dancer in the Grades K-2 category at the 2012 Lakota Nation Invitationals.

Taeler Snowball, 12, Ho Chunk-Lakota, hides the marked bone in her hand while Hand Game team Captain Marlene Dull Knife, 14, Lakota, prepares to call the game. "It's a game our ancestor's played," Dull Knife said. (Courtesy: Christina Rose)

Courtesy: Christina Rose

Taeler Snowball, 12, Ho Chunk-Lakota, hides the marked bone in her hand while Hand Game team Captain Marlene Dull Knife, 14, Lakota, prepares to call the game. “It's a game our ancestor's played,” Dull Knife said.

Taeler Snowball, 12, Ho Chunk-Lakota, shows the container holding the marked bone. The Hand Game is a game of skill and intuition. Marlene Dull Knife said, "Taeler takes the game very seriously." (Courtesy: Christina Rose)

Courtesy: Christina Rose

Taeler Snowball, 12, Ho Chunk-Lakota, shows the container holding the marked bone. The Hand Game is a game of skill and intuition. Marlene Dull Knife said, “Taeler takes the game very seriously.”

Fancy Shawl dancer, Grades 3-5 category, at the Lakota Nation Invitationals. (Courtesy: Christina Rose)

Courtesy: Christina Rose

Fancy Shawl dancer, Grades 3-5 category, at the Lakota Nation Invitationals.

 

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