Prairie Edge

I’m not a shopper, so it is hard to get me excited about a store. I will likely end up as one of those old men who sits on a bench eating ice cream or feeding pigeons as my wife shops.

Every Smokey Mountains has its Pigeon Forge. Every Niagra has its strip of saltwater taffy and tacky t-shirts and I retreat from them like a rat from rising water.

Once, talking with a tourism office official, he told me that 70% of their phone calls revolve around questions of shopping in the area. So I guess I am outnumbered.

While grabbing a morning coffee in Rapid City, something in the deep recesses of my memory recalled a store that did hold my interest. Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries. It’s not just a store, it’s an education. So off we went.

Prairie Edge is a collection of Native American books, arts and merchandise in a grand three-story storefront in downtown Rapid City. Want an authentic buffalo hide robe? They’ve got it. Looking for a sling ball war club with black and blue beadwork? This is the place.

They have high quality goods made by Native American and non-Native craftspeople and artists. Ceremonial items like hand drums, dance sticks and headdresses. Hand shields, beaded axes and arrow quivers. Robes, skulls and hides.

There are galleries with gorgeous paintings, pottery, and beadwork. The bookstore has a broad range of titles dedicated to an honest and direct view of history. Visit the “Historical events and related products” page on their website to get a sense of what’s there.

Tucked into the back corner of the ground floor is the Sioux Trading Post where you can gather the raw materials to make your own crafts. Beads, bone and antler. Hide, feather, sinew, and shell are all sold by the piece. Even if you have no intention of creating your own artwork, it is a wonderland to wander.

Prairie Edge celebrates and preserves a rich heritage. They do it in a way that invites others to learn, appreciate, and celebrate with them. Go ahead and stop at Wall Drug, but aim for Prairie Edge.

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