50 Artists to Watch: Starr Chief Eagle

Photo by Chris Huber, courtesy of the Rapid City Journal, used with permission.

Starr Chief Eagle is an enrolled member of the Sicangu (Rosebud) Lakota Sioux Tribe. She was born with the Lakota name Wichahpi Tokahe (First Star) and was later given the Lakota name Wichahpi Ohitika Winyan (Brave Star Woman) as she entered into adulthood.

She grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota spending time in both Rapid City and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and started hoop dancing before she could walk. Since then she has been practicing every year to perfect her techniques and skills. Starr was raised up in hoop dancing by her father, Dallas Chief Eagle, and continues to carry on his teachings with a combination of her own.

Starr loves sharing her culture through art, language, dance, and song for future generations in hopes of restoring and maintaining the Lakota culture. She has performed the art of Hoop Dancing throughout the world and continues to further reach out at home and in the heart of the Paha Sapa (Black Hills of South Dakota) at Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and other places such as schools, camps, museums, and other gatherings. 

In her free time, she continues to learn more about the art, history and language of the American Indian People. This knowledge is displayed in her crafts and influences her performances and teachings, which leads to the enrichment of her everyday life.

Currently Starr is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota – Morris. She enjoys traveling back to South Dakota on the weekends to continue to share her art and Hoop Dancing throughout the state. She is also training to participate in the 2017 World Hoop Dance competition in Phoenix, AZ, in February.

Starr is endorsed by the South Dakota Arts Council Grants on both the Touring Arts and Artists in Schools and Communities teaching artist roster. Her upcoming events along with her booking information can be found at http://chiefeaglestarr.wixsite.com/hoop .  



50 Artists to Watch is a special project we’re embarking on in celebration of our 50th anniversary at the South Dakota Arts Council. This series of short artist features is intended to share the work of South Dakota artists on a wide platform. It is not intended as a list of top or best artists. It is not presented in any particular order. Featured artists are being selected from nominations sent to us. You can nominate an artist by emailing sdac@state.sd.us. We can’t include them all, but we’ll keep all nominations on a list for future features and blogs.

We welcome your continued suggestions for 50 Artists to Watch and your (constructive) comments about the work of those being featured.

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