Akta Lakota Museum
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Visit the Akta Lakota Museum to experience a living lesson on the Native American way of life, past and present. Each year we receive thousands of visitors from all over the globe that want to deepen their appreciation of Lakota culture. As an outreach program of St. Joseph's Indian School we pride ourselves on not just providing that experience but creating an atmosphere conducive to learning and healing into the hearts of our students as well as our visitors. What makes our museum such a wonderful experience is our focus. We have an outstanding collection of cultural, historical and artistic works that relate specifically to the Northern Plains Indian Tribes, the ancestry of the students served at St. Joseph's. Our historical collection honors the past while our contemporary collection represents the creative spirit of today's world. We work closely with Indian artist and artisans to present contemporary artwork that builds on cultural traditions while expressing itself in new ways. What you take away from your visit is the understanding that Lakota culture is not just a thing of the past. It's alive and thriving today.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
445 reviews
Excellent
397
Very good
40
Average
6
Poor
2
Terrible
0

Sarah O
7 contributions
Oct 2022 • Family
I did not even know that this museum existed until we spotted the sign after visiting the Dignity sculpture. I have always been interested in the culture and history of Native Americans so we decided to stop. The displays were very informative and beautiful. I was in awe of the display showcasing a woman with a wolf, a hide, and a deceased buffalo. My kids loved teepee outside and the "Please touch" display that had them guess which part of the buffalo was used in the making of the object. They also loved the little gift bags that the front desk gives to child visitors. We weren't able to stay very long because my son was very antsy after a very long car ride, but I definitely want to come back again when I have more time to explore the exhibits. When visiting, make sure you ask for a pin to mark your town on the map. It was cool seeing where all their visitors came from.
Written October 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robert C
Harmony, PA59 contributions
May 2022
What a great little museum. We saw signs on the highway and decided to take a quick detour. The location is not conducive to large RV's or long camping trailers. Thankfully we were towing a small popup! This museum have some beautiful artifacts on display. The story boards are very interesting. Their selection of books related to Native Americans is substantial. The gift shop has many great offerings as well. If you have an hour or two this stop is definitely worth it if you are interested in Native American history.
Written May 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Pilámaya – thank you for your review of our museum. We are very proud of our museum and our commitment to provide all who visit the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the Northern Plains Indian people. We appreciate your support in spreading the word!
Written May 31, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

arkansastraveler2435
2 contributions
Sep 2020
This was one of the highlights of our visit to South Dakota. We traveled from our home in Arkansas and spent 10 days in the great State of South Dakota. The museum was extremely well done and did a great job of telling the story of the history of the Lakota people. The staff was friendly and helpful and spent time answering our questions and providing details about the exhibits. I bought a handmade piece of pottery at the gift shop to remember our visit. So glad we stopped to visit and we will definitely recommend this museum to anyone we know that plan to travel to South Dakota.
Written October 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Pilámaya – thank you for sharing your visit. We appreciate your support in spreading the word!
Written October 13, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ntanaka2022
Sacramento, CA1 contribution
Oct 2022
Outstanding artifacts, display, staff, education system, photos, murals, gifts, etc.If it has to be 100 words, I will spill my gut out. My soul was a Navajo whose dad was the Chief. I was the medicine man. My name is Climbing Bear. I came from Sacramento, California. I came to seek my roots here and learned a lot of here. My spiritual name is Wanka Tanka and I am in spirit from above. I truly am. I am experiencing life to the fullest. Please have someone read my vibes and connect with me. My past will reaffirm who I am and I would love to return to talk to someone here. My life is educating folks whoever comes through to me. My purupose in life is yet to be told, but I want to communicate thorugh writing. I love being with people. My best friend is Climbing Bear. If you can reach his grave site, please let me know. I really want to go there. Thank you again for forcing me to write this journal. I hope someone can reach out to me and connect. I am raeady for next step. By the way, outstanding museum. Bests of the west.
Little Bear
Written October 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DogsandDragons
Holton, MI148 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
This museum is one of the reasons we chose to visit South Dakota, we wanted to learn about the Indian culture. My dad is Potawatomi however he would never discuss the culture or history so this museum is a good way for me to learn different native cultures. If you take the time to read the exhibits you will learn a lot. Some interesting displays using clothing from Dances with Wolves. I do wish the school history section had more details but the space is limited in that section. Nice selection of items in the gift shop, wish I had planned to spend more. We spent two or three hours here. Our children (15 and 20) also enjoyed the museum.
Written August 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

yehudah
Ernakulam, India75 contributions
Sep 2022 • Friends
This is one of the best Native American museum I have ever visited. We spent hours there and never ran out of new, stimulating material to see and explore. It’s housed on property that was once an Indian school which tended to be places where attempts were made to destroy Native culture so it’s quite fitting. The staff was excellent and very helpful.
Written September 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Pilámaya – thank you for the review of our museum. We appreciate your support!
Written October 3, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Katrina A
3 contributions
Jul 2022
This is a gorgeous and comprehensive museum, offering many genuine native perspectives and going deeper than the average Native American exhibit into the belief system. There are gorgeous historic artifacts and interactive displays. Highlights: the quilts, the video relics, the gift shop with native made arts for purchase, the meditation garden! Could not recommend more.
Written July 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Wópilá táηka – many thanks for sharing your visit. We appreciate your support in spreading the word!
Written July 29, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Passenger675332
2 contributions
Oct 2022
Was not sure what to expect when visiting the museum, however, I was quite impressed with it overall. There was a good balance of reading material, artifacts, and hands on displays. The museum was well organized and clean. Would highly recommend a visit.
Written October 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robin C
Vashon, WA1 contribution
Jul 2020
Important history shown and told with beautiful objects, dioramas, sketches, and timelines. So glad to view and learn. They have Lakota music playing in the background and hand made items for sale. I especially liked that the medicine garden offers healing to those harmed by schools during the forced education programs. Proud of you for including this.
Written July 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Pilámaya – thank you for your review of our museum. We are very proud of our museum and our commitment to provide all who visit the opportunity learn about the culture and history of the Northern Plains Indian people. We appreciate your support in spreading the word!
Written August 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Elizabeth L
1 contribution
May 2021
The Atka Lakota Museum in Chamberlain unfortunately clings to outdated and harmful explanations of the Plains Indians. While the museum is in possession of some amazing art and artifacts, the messaging around the tour and the display is a missed opportunity for Native-Led voices to be heard. The tone and messaging through a white gaze, and while I do think folks involved have a great intention, the museum needs to be revamped with Natives in charge of the narrative. Especially given the recent discoveries of mass graves in the Canadian residential schools (which likely also exist in the US), I would encourage a re-evaluation of how the museum presents itself, its artifacts, and the lives of indiginous folks of what we now refer to as South Dakota. It is also on the campus of the St. Joseph Indian School; the sad irony of that fact in plain view. I have no doubt that someday it will change, and hopefully be a source of pride for the local tribal community. I would encourage the movement toward that day whole heartedly. I visited the museum with a group - including two Natives. One of them left in tears.
Written July 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review of our museum. We understand your frustration of what you consider outdated explanations. Our exhibits and timelines were updated in 2013 after years of research and working very closely with our Curriculum and Parent Advisory Team, all of whom are American Indian. Since 1927, St. Joseph's Indian School has served the needs of the Lakota (Sioux) people in South Dakota. The children at St. Joseph’s Indian School are here because their families want them to be here. Some families aren’t able to care for their children. Extreme poverty may force them to choose between feeding their children and heating their homes during the long, harsh South Dakota winters. It is hard for the students to be away from home, but we are blessed to work with families who have chosen St. Joseph’s and want their children to receive a good education and other opportunities. I certainly understand your skepticism, but culture is an extremely important part of our program. We have an annual powwow, all our students take Native American Studies classes and are learning the Lakota language. Learn more at stjo.org/culture.
Written July 28, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Akta Lakota Museum (Chamberlain) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Akta Lakota Museum

Akta Lakota Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon - Sat 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM