By Brenda Norrell
Lakota Rosalie Little Thunder, gentle and powerful voice for Native people and the buffalo, passed to the Spirit World.
Journalist Vi Waln remembers Rosalie as a "Lakota Library of Wisdom."
"Lakota women have always been the backbone of the Oyate. Without the strength and resilience of our women, the Lakota people would never have made it this far. The future of the Lakota Oyate still depends upon the strong women of our tribe."
Read Waln's tribute to Rosalie. Both are Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud:
South Dakota Public Broadcasting remembers Rosalie, 64, for both her work in language preservation and her struggle to save the buffalo at Yellowstone National Park: http://listen.sdpb.org/post/rosalie-little-thunder-morned-sd
Rosalie, adjunct professor for Black Hills State University, was from Rosebud, South Dakota, and was living in Rapid City.
PBS featured Rosalie in 'Buffalo War' : http://www.pbs.org/buffalowar/war.html
PBS wrote, "Lakota elder Rosalie Little Thunder's struggle and the story of the walk are about more than a political statement. They are about a culture attempting to reclaim its identity, an identity centered on buffalo. As Little Thunder explains, the Lakota and buffalo are 'synonymous.' The Lakota's creation story tells of humans being direct descendants of buffalo. Historically, the destruction of America's great buffalo herds in the 19th century is inextricably tied to the genocide against the Plains Indians.
"In February 1999, a band of 30 Indians from different tribes walked 500 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota to Yellowstone's north entrance as a spiritual response to the annual killing of the bison. Little Thunder was arrested in 1997 for trespassing on private land when she attempted to pray for the slain buffalo. Little Thunder now eschews that kind of civil disobedience. She dubs her new approach 'spiritual activism.'"The walkers battled harsh weather, racism, illness and interpersonal struggles on the road. Along the way, the walkers reconnected with their nomadic past and demonstrated how ancient tradition can be incorporated into modern life," PBS said.
Among the banned authors
Rosalie was one of the authors censored by Tucson schools, when it banned 'Rethinking Columbus,' as we reported earlier in Censored News.
Rethinking Columbus is packed full of famous Native American authors. The powerful Native American women's voices censored by Tucson public schools includes the voice of Rosalie Little Thunder, in, "The Sacred Buffalo."
Little Thunder's letter describes the massacre of buffalo at Yellowstone National Park. It includes a personal family story of massacre and survival and her arrest at Yellowstone.
Above all, Little Thunder's letter describes the significance of the slaughter of buffalo. For the colonizers, the buffalo must die to eradicate Indians, just as in the minds of Tucson public school officials, the voices of Lakota survivors must be banned and silenced.
Little Thunder writes in Rethinking Columbus, "Just as I am a survivor of massacre, so too are the Yellowstone buffalo survivors of massacre."
Chief Arvol Looking Horse will honor Rosalie
There will be an all-night wake on Thursday, August 14 at the Mother Butler Center, Rapid City with a Wake Service at 7:00 pm led by Rev. Gerald Yellowhawk. A Funeral Service will be 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 16 at the He Dog School Gym, Parmelee, South Dakota, led by Chief Arvol Looking Horse.
Wishing you a good journey Rosalie.