RAPID CITY | Rosalie Jean Little Thunder (Kicikute Cokanun Win), 64, entered the spirit world on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
She was born Sept. 18, 1949, at home in Old He Dog Community, on the lands of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Reservation) to William L. and Margaret M. (Good Shield) Little Thunder. She and siblings, Leonard and Frankie Little Thunder, were raised there and attended both the He Dog School and St. Francis Indian Mission boarding school.
Rosalie married David K. Kills In Water and they made the Spring Creek Community near Rosebud, their home. To this union were born two daughters, Deborah and Barbara Kills In Water. They were later divorced and Rosalie moved to Rapid City. She then married Leonard W. Good Bear in Hill City. To this union were born three children: Amy, Jonathan, and Rebecca Good Bear.
At the time of her passing, Rosalie was an adjunct professor at Black Hills State University American Indian Studies Department, where she taught the Lakota language for many years. She also worked with the Lakota Bible Translation Project, helping to translate the bible into the heart language of the Lakota people. Rosalie spearheaded various projects as a consultant and also as a highly-respected teacher in a self-driven Cultural Mapping project called KiLakotapi. Her intense commitment to the continuation of Lakota cultural ways and language, her compassion for the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation), and her adamant stance for environmental justice and natural resource protections took her upon worldwide travels such as India, Ecuador, Mexico, and Canada.
Rosalie served on several non-profit boards such as the Buffalo Field Campaign, Owe Aku Justice International, Seventh Generation Fund, and the South Dakota Peace and Justice. She was also a cherished honorary member of several non-profit organization including Honor the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Wolakota Foundation, the Brave Heart Society, and many others. Rosalie was an active member of the Kat’ela Okalakiciye (Traditional Lakota Elderly Women’s Society). She also participated in the Sicangu Constitutional Convention, which amended the tribal constitution and by-laws. She proposed Article IV, Section 1(v), which states: (v) The Tribal Council shall develop plans and consider implications of the decisions they make on the next seven generations. (Amendment S effective September 20, 2007 — vote 528 for; 262 against; 16 ballots spoiled or mutilated). This proposed Article was approved and adopted by the people and is now Tribal Law.
In addition to her environmental activism and cultural preservation work, Rosalie was also an accomplished award winning artist, making star quilts and recreation of traditional Lakota items such as gun cases, moccasins, parfleche bags, and a horse-head mask.
Survivors include her great-granddaughter, Kaliyah Herman-Phelps; her husband, Leonard Good Bear, Eagle Butte; her (mother), Ina Phoebe Little Thunder, Parmelee; daughters, Deborah Hernandez, Barbara Hernandez and Amy (Undre) Holt of Rapid City, and Rebecca (Samuel) Gilley, Lubbock, TX; son, Jonathan Good Bear, Rapid City; brothers, Harold and Michael Little Thunder of Parmelee, and Scott Jones, Rapid City; sisters, Marian and Anna Little Thunder, Parmelee, Karen Little Thunder, Donna Cordoza, Violet Cordoza, and Tara Jones, Rapid City. She is also survived by many takojas (grandchildren), nephews, nieces, several great-grandchildren and many hunka (adopted) siblings and children.
Rosalie was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Leonard, Frankie and Lionel; and a sister, Shirley.
A two-night wake is planned. Beloved Rosalie will be brought to the Mother Butler Center at 4:30 p.m. today and those wishing to join the family at this time are welcome. Wake services begin at 7 p.m. The wake procession will leave at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, from Rapid City for the second night's wake at the He Dog School Gym, west of Parmelee on the Rosebud Reservation.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 16, at the He Dog School Gym. Burial will follow at the White Horse Cemetery, located four miles south of the He Dog School.
Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home of Rapid City, SD, is entrusted with the arrangements. An online guestbook for Rosalie may be signed at www.osheimschmidt.com.