The Late Rosalie Little Thunder makes a point during a recent discussion about Lakota Language and Culture.
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.
Rosalie Little Thunder, one of our most resilient women, has left this Earth plane to start a new sacred journey along the Milky Way. She’s gone to meet our ancestors!
There is a saying about how when an elder passes on it is akin to a library burning down. Rosalie was one of our libraries.
She carried knowledge which she shared freely with many. She was known for her cultural advocacy. She did a tremendous amount of critical work with the Lakota language. She provided life lessons to people of all ages.
I was very privileged to have worked with Rosalie on several projects. Her determination to help the Lakota people evolve out of the colonized mindset many have succumbed to was inspirational. A Lakota woman of Rosalie’s caliber is hard to find in today’s modern, assimilated society.
While spending time with Rosalie, I witnessed firsthand her compassion for her family and Lakota people in general. Her cell phone would ring non-stop and she would sometimes talk for hours on it, offering advice and encouragement to whomever was on the other end. She would think nothing of dropping whatever she was doing to help someone in need.
Rosalie was admired and known in many circles for her teaching methods which included a process she called Cultural Mapping. She would draw a spiral on a sheet of paper or a white board and expand upon it. The basic terms she used were Wotakuye, Wicozani, Wokicunze, Wicoh’an, Wiconi, Wicoyake and Wokiksuye. Cultural Mapping was a way to remember our Lakota way of being and how to use it to help our relatives.
I always learned something new when I interacted with Rosalie. Actually, I believe we learned from each other. The input she had in the small groups we worked with taught me so much. Sometimes responses offered by the people in meetings would trigger profound comments from her. She always encouraged people to help each other re-learn and remember the cultural wisdom that colonization tried to rob from us.
Rosalie was a Sicangu Lakota woman who wanted to help people work through their differences with one another. Also, despite her health problems, she demonstrated the love of a true Lakota Unci by providing for Calea, her very young Takoja.
Rosalie was an activist. She was involved in issues which affected the people. Several years ago she stood up and spoke out for the buffalo being slaughtered at Yellowstone National Park. She organized a National Day of Prayer on their behalf. Her most recent involvement was with the grassroots movement against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Rosalie was the epitome of how to be a good Lakota ancestor. She will be greatly missed by the Lakota Oyate.