Clifford Canku is a fluent Dakota speaker who teaches the language, history, and culture at the Sisseton Wahpeton College at the Lake Traverse Reservation located in Northeastern South Dakota.
Canku, 69, is a Dakota elder who learned the Dakota ways and the Dakota traditional cyclical events of life from elders who taught through the oral tradition.
He earned a B.A. Degree from the University of Minnesota at Morris, Minn., and a Masters of Divinity from the Dubuque Theological Seminary at Dubuque, Iowa.
INTERVIEW – Russell Eagle Bear
Russell Eagle Bear is a member of the Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, S.D. He currently serves on the Rosebud Tribal Council.
He has been an instructor for Sinte Gleska University in Mission, S.D. As instructor Russell promotes Lakota language, culture and traditions in everyday life. He has been a Sundance leader and Sundancer for the past 23 years.
INTERVIEW – Dr. Craig Howe
Craig Howe is director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies, a nonprofit research center committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them.
He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a faculty member in the Graduate Studies Department at Oglala Lakota College. He also served as deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has developed tribal histories projects and museum exhibitions, taught Native studies courses in the U.S. and Canada, and authored articles and book chapters on numerous topics, including tribal histories, Native studies, museum exhibitions, and community collaborations. Howe was raised and lives on his family’s cattle ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
INTERVIEW – Jerome Kills Small
Jerome Kills Small is an Oglala Lakota from Porcupine, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A 1997 graduate of the University of South Dakota with an M.A. in selected studies, he stayed to teach at USD, where he teaches Lakota language, American Indian thought, Siouan tribal culture, Lakota history and a seminar on Black Elk. He also teaches the Lakota language and American Indian cultures at the Nebraska Indian Community College at Santee, Neb., and South Sioux City, Neb.
Kills Small is featured in the book “Wounded Warriors: A Time for Healing” and has a story in the Silver Anniversary Anthology published by the South Dakota Humanities Council. Kills Small has parts in the videos “Sucker Punched, Nagi Kicopi(Calling Back the Spirit),” “Lost Landscapes”and “Bones of Contention: Repatriation and Reburial.” He sings with the “Oyate Singers” of Vermillion, S.D. In the Great Plains Chautauqua, he portrays Dr. Charles A. Eastman, the first medical doctor of the Santee people of the Dakota Tribe; and Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief and British general.
MUSIC & INTERVIEW – Kevin Locke
Tokeya Inajin (“the first to arise,” his Lakota name) wrote and performed the music for Oceti Sakowin. He is Lakota, of the Hunkpapa Band of the Lakota, and Anishinabe and has performed throughout the Midwest, the country and internationally. He performs as a hoop dancer and on the Northern Plains flute, and shares stories of Oyate.
In 1990, for reviving the flute tradition, Locke was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts as a “Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States.”
He credits his family with passing along the values, traditions, language and culture that he shares through his appearances around the world. Since 1982, Locke has recorded twelve albums of music and stories, most recently “The First Flute,” “Open Circle,” “Keepers of the Dream,” and “Dream Catcher.” To find out more, see www.kevinlocke.com. Kevin has released a music CD based on Oceti Sakowin: The people of the Seven Council Fires. For more information go to www.ixtlanArtists.com .
INTERVIEW – Ione Quigley
Ione Quigley is the Chairperson of Lakota Studies at Sinte Gleska University in Mission, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Reservation. He staff numbers 14 and the department covers topics such as botany, archaeology and traditions. The department offers two-year and four-year degrees. Quigley is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
INTERVIEW – Webster Two Hawk Sr.
Webster Two Hawk Sr. was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota in 1930. He is enrolled as a full-blood Sicangu Sioux. A graduate of Mission High School in South Dakota, he went on to graduate in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota. He also holds a Master of Divinity from Kenyon College, Ohio, and is a veteran of the Korean War.
From 1957 until 1968, he served as an Episcopal Priest on the Yankton and Standing Rock reservations. He was twice elected President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, serving from 1969-73 and 1983-85. He served as the Hospital Administrator for the Rosebud Indian Health Service from 1976-82 and worked for the Aberdeen Indian Health Service from 1985-94. From 1996 to 2003, he worked for the Governor of South Dakota as the Commissioner for the Tribal-Government Relations Office. Now retired, he still serves as a non-stipendiary priest for the Episcopal Church, which he has done since 1968.
INTERVIEW & ADVISER – Chief Albert White Hat, Sr.
Albert White Hat Sr. was born on the outskirts of Saint Francis, S.D., on the Rosebud Reservation. He attended day school in the community of Spring Creek until he was 7 years old, then moved on to attend and graduate from St. Francis Indian School.
White Hat is currently the Lakota Language Program Director at Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail) University on the Rosebud Reservation and has been an instructor since 1983.
A combination of his traditional upbringing, life experiences and education has led White Hat down a very colorful path. He has traveled the United States and the world as a speaker and educator on all aspects of Lakota life, such as language, thought and philosophy, and spirituality.
Some of his awards include the Gamahiel Chair for Peace and Justice in 1987, the Outstanding Indian Educator Award in 1995, and the National Indian Education Association’s Indian Elder of the Year in 2001. He is a published author of two books, “Lakota Ceremonial Songs” (1983) and “Reading and Writing the Lakota Language” (1999).
In 1999, Albert White Hat received his highest honor – designation as a traditional chief by the Sicangu Lakota people.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, PRODUCER, WRITER – James P. Sprecher
James P. Sprecher completed his 35th year with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in 2007. He has worked in all phases of television and film production and on a wide variety of award-winning programs. His Instructional Television Series, Dakota Pathways: A History was awarded an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy in 2004 as well as a NETA award. He was an Executive Producer on a joint project with NETV, Wild Horses: An American Romance which garnered a Heartland Regional Emmy in the documentary division.
Starting out as a documentary film maker in the early 1970s and then moving into television production, he has produced and directed many award winning programs in the arts, history, children’s instructional television, public affairs and Native American issues. Since 1995 he has served as Executive Producer for SDPB Television and oversees the work of an award-winning team of producers.
DIRECTOR, EDITOR – Kyle Lee Mork
Kyle Mork, an award-winning television director with nine years of production experience, joined SDPB in 1998. He has directed everything from high school sports, to jazz concerts, to live public affairs programs.
He served as Director and Editor on the Emmy and NETA award-winning instructional television series, Dakota Pathways: A History. He also has been nominated for the 2006-2007 Upper Midwest Emmy for his work on two documentaries: 100 Yards, 100 Years: A Century of High School Football in South Dakota and Red Willow Band – Reunion.
ADVISER – Mary Stadick Smith
Mary Stadick Smith has been the Communications Director for the South Dakota Department of Education for three years. Prior to that, she served as the marketing Director for the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, S.D. As a writer for the South Dakota Department of Tourism for 10 years, she gained a strong appreciation for the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people and cultures of South Dakota.
ADVISER – Lowell Amiotte
Lowell Amiotte is Native American Activities Coordinator at South Dakota State University.
He is a former President of Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota, and former President of the , National Indian Education Association. He holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of South Dakota and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota.
ADVISER – Janet Claymore-Ross, Ed.D
Janet Claymore-Ross is an experienced educator of 26 years. She obtained all three of her degrees from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion – a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in Indian Studies; a Master’s Degree in Elementary Administration; and an Ed.D in School Administration, Superintendent.
Ross has experience as an Elementary Principal, a Federal Programs Director, a Curriculum Director and the Director of a Special Education Cooperative serving 6,500 students. She now works in Holbrook, Ariz., as the principal of a private SDA boarding school for Native Americans
ADVISER – Robert Bryan Cook
Robert Bryan Cook, an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, is the Cultural Affairs/ Education Outreach Specialist at Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. He studied at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and graduated from Black Hills State University with a degree in Secondary Education. He holds a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Oglala Lakota College and has eighteen years of teaching and administrative experience in American Indian Education.
He has taught at Red Cloud School and at Crow Creek, Little Wound and Lower Brulé, all reservation schools in South Dakota. Education awards and honors include: Little Wound School Educator of the Year in 1998 and 1999; Lower Brule Teacher of the Year 2000-2001, South Dakota’s Milken National Educator in 2005, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Teacher of the Year 2006 and NIEA’s Teacher of the Year 2006.
ADVISER – Keith Moore
Keith Moore was born in Rosebud, S.D., and is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He was active in sports in high school and college. After teaching and coaching for nearly a decade, he sought his Masters in School Administration from South Dakota State University in Brookings, while being the assistant basketball coach and residential director at Dakota State University in Madison. Keith was the 7-12 principal and head boys’ basketball coach in the Agar-Blunt-Onida school district/ Sully Buttes Jr. and Sr. High Schools in Onida, S.D., from 2002-2005. During his nine years as a head basketball coach, he was able to be a part of three state tournament teams. He became the Indian Education Director for the South Dakota Department of Education in 2005.
ADVISER – Steven M. Rokusek
A former teacher, Steven Rokusek has a BS in Biology and Computer Education. He taught anatomy, biology, earth science, physical science and physics for seven years. He has received the Golden Apple Award for Teachers, the Archdiocese of Omaha Teacher of the Year Award, and three Who's Who Among Teachers Awards. He joined the SDPB Education and Outreach Department in 2004. He has presented at many education conferences and school in-services.
Rokusek developed educational resources for many SDPB Radio and Television productions, including the Emmy- and NETA- Award winning series, Dakota Pathways: A History.