Agate Fossil Beds National Monument holds the annual celebration of its establishment as a monument Sunday with a special guest.
Darrell Red Cloud is the great-great-grandson of the legendary Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota and will be erecting two hand-painted tipis next to the Visitors Center. He will start at 9:00.
Agate Chief Ranger AJ Legault says the park has had tipis during the summer for several years, but never ones that have been traditionally hand-painted.
Tipi designs are traditionally interpretations of dreams and Red Cloud himself painted these, using Lakota designs and symbols. This is the first time he’s set up the tipis in public.
Legault says the Lakota in general and Red Cloud’s family in particular have long ties to the land that makes up Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.
Native Americans took advantage of its water and other resources for generations before the arrival of white settlers, and homesteader Captain James Cook continued to welcome them on his Agate Springs Ranch – part of which became the monument.
Cook and Chief Red Cloud became good friends and Cook received many gifts over the years from Red Cloud, his family, and other Lakota. Those gifts are the core of the James Cook Collection of Lakota and Cheyenne artifacts, some on display at Agate.
Legault says there will be 2 guided tours tomorrow of the Cook Collection and the Visitors Center’s fossil displays – one at 11:00 and the other at 2:00.
. There will also be a Ranger-led walk at 10:00 to the Fossil Hills to tour the historic quarry sites on Carnegie and University Hills and learn how Agate Fossil Beds defined the study of the Age of Mammals.