OLC Honors 12 Artists, Oglala Lakota Veterans

Nov 15th, 2007 | By | Category: 19-2: Our Story, Our Way, Tribal College News
By Marilyn E. Pourier


OGLALA MONUMENT. Bronze statues of a male and a female veteran created by Randall Blaze flank plaques which contain over 1,800 names of veterans from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Photo courtesy of Oglala Lakota College staff.

Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD) dedicated the Oglala Lakota Veterans Monument and featured Oglala Lakota artists throughout the summer at its Piya Wiconi campus.

The series promoted public awareness of the arts of the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the surrounding area and educated people to the richness and the importance of the arts to the Lakota culture and traditions.

The artist series featured: Luke Dubray, Diane Comes, Tilda St. Pierre, and Stephanie Sorbel – beadwork; Don Ruleaux – water color; Genevieve Bluebird, Ed Two Bulls, Jr., and Daniel Long Soldier – acrylics, Donald Montileaux – color pencil; Sam Two Bulls – mixed media; Echo Red Bear and Fred Menard – quill/beadwork.

The OLC Historical Center contains a prominent display of art and photographs that chronicle the history of the Oglala Lakota from the early 1800s to the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. An audiotape of this history provides greater meaning to the displays.

The Oglala Lakota Veterans Monument was unveiled at the Piya Wiconi Administrative Headquarters southwest of Kyle, SD. The monument contains over 1,800 names on bronze plaques of Oglala Lakota veterans from World War I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition to the plaques, two life size bronze statues of a male and female Lakota veteran were unveiled. Randall Blaze (Lakota) created the bronze figures, and OLC’s construction students built the concrete wall and installed the plaques.

Captain Tasha Standing Soldier (Oglala Lakota) AFSC: 43P3, pharmacist, gave the keynote speech. She is currently stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base and is assigned to the 28th Medical Support Group Squadron. She was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She received her Associate of Arts in Life Sciences at OLC in 2002. In 2006 she received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. She is a member of the American Pharmacist Association and of Kappa Epsilon. Upon graduation, she was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force.

A special honoring was made for Ola Millie Rexroat (Oglala Lakota) who served as a pilot during WWII as a member of the WASPs. After the WASP program ceased to exist, she worked as an air traffic controller until retiring. Rexroat was presented with an Honorary Degree in Lakota Leadership from OLC.

Ola’s experiences in World War II included flying the T6, single-engine plane, which was towing a large target at 150 miles per hour with a 70-foot cable. Other planes were flying close enough to her plane to shoot at the target. There were incidents in which the T6 single-engine planes were shot down during the target-shooting exercises.

“American Indians have had the highest rate of service of any racial group in defending this country, and Oglala Lakota College is showing its appreciation and gratitude for the Oglala war veterans with the monument,” stated President Thomas Shortbull (Oglala Lakota).

OLC is a 4-year tribal college with nine college centers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one on the Cheyenne River Reservation, and a learning center in Rapid City, serving over 1,400 students a semester.

For more information, contact Development Director Marilyn E. Pourier by phone at (605) 455-6000 or visit www.olc.edu.

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