Event Details

Learning Forum: Madonna Swan

March 22, 2020  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Learning Forums are thought-provoking presentations, followed by a discussion about the topic. Learning Forums in March are themed for Women in History Month. 

This week, Mark St. Pierre presents, "Madonna Swan." He captures the indomitable spirit of a Lakota woman as she celebrates the joys and endures the sufferings of life on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Madonna Mary Swan-Abdalla (1928 – 1993) overcame extreme difficulties to serve as a symbol of courage and strength for all. Suffering for years from tuberculosis, she was confined to an Indian sanatorium with restricted access to decent health care. It was only when she gained access to the “white” sanatorium in Custer that doctors were able to kill the TB bacteria.

After a long recovery, she earned her GED and became a Head Start teacher, helping low-income families. She married, raised a child and was named the North American Indian Woman of the Year by her tribal sisters at Cheyenne River in 1983.

Madonna’s legacy is told through her stories related to Mark St. Pierre, who wrote her autobiography, “Madonna Swan: A Lakota Woman’s Story.” At the Learning Forum, you’ll hear powerful stories from the book, followed by a discussion.

As for the inspiration behind the book, Mark “felt that young Lakota people need to have heroic figures to read about and to understand,” especially in a modern setting.

Mark has been sharing the stories of South Dakota and the Lakota people for 40 years as a filmmaker and author. He’s also been an educator, teaching college and high school students. Mark currently works at the Cloud Horse Art Institute in Kyle, South Dakota.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, half-off for members. Call 605-394-6923 to reserve tickets.

For more Learning Forums, click here.

You can sit anywhere you like in our theater! The seating map is below. Seats marked ADA indicate wheelchair accessibility. Blue seats indicate space for foldout chairs, but those with ADA requirements take first priority.

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The Journey Museum and Learning Center regularly adds new events, exhibits, and features to the expansive museum, covering American history, Black Hills history, and Native American culture.

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The Journey Museum is currently in Winter Hours:

Winter Hours

(October 1st – April 30th)
10 AM – 5 PM Monday through Saturday
1 PM – 5 PM Sundays

Summer Hours

(May 1st – September 30th)
9 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday
11 AM – 5 PM Sundays


All individual admissions are good for two days with receipt.

Museum General Admission:

Adults (ages 18+) $10
Seniors (ages 62+) $8
Students (ages 6 – 17) $7
Children 5 & under FREE with family

Groups (10+ people):

$7 per person

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.

Education Groups (12+ students):

$3 per student (all students 18 and under)
$5 College Students

Chaperones are requested. Special pricing will be extended to adult chaperones.

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.