-Minnesota State Arts Board - Minnesota North Star

Minnesota State Arts Board–A Creative Investment, Celebrating Ten Years of Legacy Art and Impact


Dakota Wicohan Tawokaga. Artist Eileen O'Keefe

  Dakota Wicohan Tawokaga  
  Morton – Renville County  
  2019 Arts Learning grant – Minnesota State Arts Board  
  Artists Eileen O'Keefe and Kateri O'Keefe  

Dakota Wicohan, a nonprofit organization that aims to revitalize the Minnesota Dakota language, created Tawokaga, an arts program, using arts as a means of reconnecting with the community and Dakota values, traditions, and ways of life. Tawokaga in the Dakota signifies one who makes something beautiful. The organization hosts art apprenticeships, and people of all ages come together to learn, teach, share, and create. The apprenticeships engage master artists and committed learners, working on art forms such as beading and tanning, quilling, and quilting.

Tawokaga sustains the value of Dakota arts in relationship with artists and communities in southwestern Minnesota. Through an Arts Board Arts Learning grant, the program added a horse regalia module to their programming to continue to provide intergenerational learning and to pass on this traditional Dakota art. The horse regalia program is led by James Star Comes Out, a master horse regalia artist who teaches and advises artists. He is assisted by Kateri O'Keefe.

The exhibit features a horse mask created by Eileen and Kateri O'Keefe: traditional brain tanned deer hide, Czech beads, brass sequins, and eagle feathers.