Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook | Oceti Sakowin


Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook, (Oceti Sakowin), strives to live by her women teachers’ sacred instructions – wahwoptetusni (to be uniquely steadfast), shakica (to be physically strong and beautiful), and wagluhtapi (to offer sacred food in ceremony). Realizing her leadership in Sun Dance throughout her world, Loretta moves community towards regeneration of health and restoration of sacred space. She cultivates healthy foodways through gardens at Pine Ridge. Loretta carries on the intergenerational struggle to restore the holy Black Hills to indigenous care through the He Sapa Black Hills Initiative. She actively contains and infuses peace, walking her tiospaye (family’s) ceremonial values across internal and external boundaries. Loretta keeps her mother’s spirit alive, remembering that “we have to have the courage to make changes and pull each other up.”