Dakota flute-maker, player earns nation’s highest folk honor

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe in South Dakota is among this year’s recipients of the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Flute maker and player Bryan Akipa has been awarded the National Heritage Fellowship, which is given by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Akipa tells The Associated Press that the award is particularly meaningful because “it’s for the traditional flute.”

Akipa’s first CD came out in 1993, and he has since been nominated for a Grammy and won several Native American Music Awards. He has also taught flute-making classes in an effort to keep the tradition alive.

U.S. Sen. John Thune broke the good news to Akipa earlier this year. He says the artist has done the state proud.

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