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Kenneth H. West, Jr.

(b. 1959)

Kenneth H. West, Jr., a descendant of Chief Yellow Hawk, is a member of the Itazipco (Cheyenne River) Band of the Lakota Sioux. He grew up in Eagle Butte, South Dakota and graduated from Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School in 1976. He graduated from Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City in 1991 with an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration.

From 1992-1998, he lived in Anchorage, Alaska where he taught courses in life skills and study skills to Native children in the Anchorage school system. He currently resides near Eagle Butte where he ranches.

West is an artisan who has been creating horsehair art and jewelry since 1983. His work is reminiscent of the Lakota culture he respects so deeply. He is recognized as a Master Horsehair Braider through the Folk Arts in South Dakota. His greatest accomplishment as an artist was being selected from a group of artists to represent South Dakota’s Centennial Celebration at the Dakotas Tribal Arts Sales Exhibition. Another major achievement was having his work displayed at the Smithsonian Renwick Museum in Washington, D.C. in September 1989. His works have been entered in several competitions and following are just a few of the awards he is proud to have received:

  • 1990 First Place Northern Plains Tribal Arts Expo, Sioux Falls, SD. -Mixed Media Division.
  • 1992 First Place First Annual Black Hills Stock Show Arts Expo, Rapid City, SD. - Mixed Media Division.
  • 1999 First Place Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Arts Competition, Eagle Butte, SD. - Braiding Division.
  • 1999 First Place Northern Plains Tribal Arts Expo, Sioux Falls, SD. - Mixed Media Division.

“It’s an honor to share the spirit of the horse and myself through this unique art form. I give all my credit to my higher power … God.”


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