Facebook/Richard Twiss Legacy
Richard Leo Twiss, co-founder and president of Wiconi International, walked on February 9, 2013.

Wiconi International President Richard Twiss Walks On


He was what his obituary called “a Lakota follower of the Jesus Way.” Richard Leo Twiss got his spiritual call while standing on a beach on the island of Maui in Hawaii in 1974. It was on that beach that the Creator responded to his prayer and Twiss was on a mission to live a meaningful life after that.

A friend of Twiss’, Travis Reed, said in a Huffington Post blog, “I pray death is the beginning to life.”

Twiss had a heart attack and walked on February 9 in Washington, D.C. surrounded by family.

“This is an incredible loss to his family but it is also an incredible loss to all indigenous people who are struggling for identity within the context of their own cultures while holding firm to the Christian faith,” said Tony Campolo, a sociology professor at Eastern University and a founder of Red Letter Christians. The organization has a website dedicated to Twiss’s passing.

Twiss was born in 1954 on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota among his mother’s people, the Sicangu Band of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux. His father was Oglala from the Pine Ridge Lakota/Sioux Reservation also in South Dakota.

After marrying Katherine Kroshus in 1976 they started Wiconi International, a non-profit ministry, together in 1997. According to the organization’s website, it’s primary mission is to “empower and serve Native people to experience a desired quality of life and a hope-filled future through authentic relationships and culturally supportive programs. We seek to live and walk among all people in a good way, as we follow the ways of Jesus—affirming, respecting and embracing the God-given cultural realities of Native American and Indigenous people, not rejecting or demonizing these sacred cultural ways.”

Twiss was also an author. His first book, One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You was published in 2000.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Wiconi International so his work can continue.

A public memorial will be held on March 10. The location is yet to be determined, but it will be held in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area according to an event page on facebook.

As his obituary says, “In the Lakota tradition, there is no word for goodbye. Instead, we say, ‘Toksa ake’ (We’ll see you again), son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend!”

To share your thoughts and memories about Twiss, visit the Richard Twiss Legacy page on facebook.


You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



jLangdeaux's picture
Submitted by jLangdeaux on
Toksa ake. . Inspire&Watch over us all.

sam gesch's picture
sam gesch
Submitted by sam gesch on
As a fellow Christian from a mixed cultural background I found Richard's teaching and insight to be very helpful to me in my own life as I know it has been for others. Richard will be missed and he certainly "stood with his people".

Suzanne Shotwell's picture
Suzanne Shotwell
Submitted by Suzanne Shotwell on
Toksa ake...well done, good and faithful servant. Blessed to have heard some of Wiconi shared...

Doug & Elaine Brannon's picture
Doug & Elaine B...
Submitted by Doug & Elaine B... on
So, so sorry for Richard's sudden passing. Thank you for your obedience in serving our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Thomas M. mayer's picture
Thomas M. mayer
Submitted by Thomas M. mayer on
What a true American hero this man was. I read his obituary on tuesday and it brought tears to my eyes. I didnt even know him but I know he will be missed by many.

Patricia Clowers's picture
Patricia Clowers
Submitted by Patricia Clowers on
Hay Richard wow we are so going to miss you and your smilly face and funny witt....YOur Jesus Way is so very beautiful, enviting, sweet and kind. you stories and memories were very enteresting. my family is from So Dakota and we share a bit if heritage. the battles have been won and you are with Jesus the mighty warrior dressed for battle....Shalom Shalom my friend.

pclowers's picture
Submitted by pclowers on
Mighty Warrior dressed for battle, the Lord is with you and you are dancing together I am sure. God give peace and comfort to Kathryn and his sons and all the people he touched with his love and laughter...amazing Grace how sweet it is....

frances speight.klatt's picture
frances speight...
Submitted by frances speight... on
Just finished Richards book for my book club. Such a blessing..thank you for your wisdom Richard...Blessings and prayers to the twiss family.

pujdak's picture
Submitted by pujdak on
Meeting Richard on the Campus for the center of world missions- I felt like I met a prince among men - it truly touched my life ..I was blessed