Rosalie Little Thunder makes a point during a recent discussion about Lakota Language and Culture.

Rosalie Little Thunder: ‘Lakota Library’ Walks On


She helped preserve the Lakota language, protect sacred sites and species, and founded The Buffalo Field Campaign in 1997. Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota, walked on August 9.

Vi Waln, in the blog Sicangu Scribe, called Little Thunder “one of our libraries.”

“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,” Waln wrote. “A Lakota woman of Rosalie’s caliber is hard to find in today’s modern, assimilated society.”

This quote was posted on Facebook by Corey Sundog Mascio to remember Rosalie Little Thunder. (Facebook)

Waln also pointed out Little Thunder’s involvement in activism. Little Thunder spoke out against the buffalo being slaughtered at Yellowstone National Park and even organized a National Day of Prayer for them. Most recently, Little Thunder was involved with the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Her legacy is our current history. She was taken to boarding schools, she survived and became a life long peace activist and teacher. She is a descendant of great Lakota Chiefs, and in her own right, was one of our foremost Peace Chiefs of modern times. She will be missed, but the campaigns she helped form are still going,” said Corey Sundog Mascio in a Facebook message to ICTMN.

Listen to Little Thunder discuss the buffalo slaughter:

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Matthew Testa
Matthew Testa
Submitted by Matthew Testa on
During a week loaded with mourning, this hits especially hard. I met Rosalie Little Thunder while filming a documentary about the plight of Yellowstone bison. She was walking 500 miles across the entire state of Montana in the dead of winter, entrusted by tribal leaders with carrying a sacred white buffalo calf pipe, as a spiritual and activist gesture on behalf of America's last wild buffalo. When I met her I knew right away that she would be the heart of the buffalo film. Her power came not from angry grandstanding or protesting the loudest but from her humility, intelligence, warmth, compassion and persistence. These traits, I would learn, were the qualities of a traditional Lakota woman and elder, and also of a great leader. I am so blessed to have known Rosalie and to call her a friend. I will always be grateful for her wisdom, her passion for her culture and her people, her trust in me, her whimsical smile and sense of humor and her fry bread. Wopila, Rosalie.