United Tribes NewsFriends, relatives honor Carole Anne Heart
By David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College President
1 February 2008
RAPID CITY (UTN) – Friends and relatives gathered here at the end of January to pay their respects and say goodbye to a memorable and beloved figure in Indian Country. Carole Anne Heart, Rapid City, a compassionate advocate for Indian people, passed into the spirit world January 25 at Rapid City Regional Hospital's Hospice of the Hills following a courageous battle with cancer. She was 61.
She was an enrolled member of the Rosebud and Yankton Sioux Tribes and lived most of her life on or near reservations of the Dakotas. Her Lakota name is Waste Wayankapi Win, meaning "When People See You, They See Something Good." At the time of her death she was the Executive Director of the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen's Health Board.
Carole Anne served Indian people in her professional career with determination and distinction. She was a former board member and past president of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). She served as chair of the Direct Service Tribes Planning Committee and she held the appointed position of Senior Advisor to the IHS Director in Maryland, which is charged with administering the health needs of all Native Americans and Tribes in the U.S.
Services included visitation on January 29 and 30 in Rapid City, followed by a wake. A traditional Lakota farewell ceremony was conducted January 31by Egan Artichoker, Tom Bad Heart Bull, Birgil Kills Straight, and Arvol Looking Horse at the Mother Butler Center. She was buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Rapid City.
Four former NIEA presidents attended the services, along with representatives from the IHS and National Indian Health Board. Tribal chairs from the region recalled her articulate contributions to Indian rights on water, education and health. Remarks about her by South Dakota U. S. Senator Tim Johnson that were published in the Congressional Record were read (see nearby item).
Carole Anne is remembered as one of the most likable persons in Indian Country, in part, because of her sense of humor. One friend, Gloria Grant recalled one of her often quoted lines: "She would jokingly advertise her possibilities for single Indian men to contact her - with the condition that they have most of their own teeth! She was hilarious to the max!"
I remember her as a fellow graduate at Marty Mission – St. Paul's High School, Marty, SD. She was also a former colleague and United Tribes employee. She served for nearly 13 years in various leadership roles, including director of the Regional Education Center II, where she worked with over 230 schools districts and contract schools, tribal colleges and tribal leaders from a four state region. When you were with her, even for a brief moment, she made life good with her endearing personality. United Tribes will dedicate a scholarship in her memory to be awarded during the college's spring graduation in May.
Condolences from the American Indian Higher Education Consortium were expressed by the organization's Executive Director Gerald Gipp: "We are saddened at the passing of this great lady," wrote Gipp. "On behalf of the tribal colleges and universities we extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to her daughter and family. AIHEC wishes to honor her life and contributions to Indian country by sponsoring her name to be placed ‘In Memoriam' on the HONOR WALL of the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC. A certificate and location information for her name will be available in about 8 weeks. Because it is in memoriam her name will be indicated with a diamond symbol." The audience at the Mother Butler Center greeted this gesture with a standing ovation.
Carole Anne is survived by her daughter, Cante Heart, Rapid City, a sophomore at Black Hill State University; her mother, Phoebe Kuecker, Sioux Falls; two brothers, Maynard Heart, Sioux Falls, and Narcisse Heart, Kyle; two sisters, Gloria Heart, Brookings, and Anita Heart, St. Paul, MN; her Hunka sisters, Kathy LaBonte, Lorretta Bad Heart Bull, Marilyn Bad Wound, Collette Keith, and Ann Prairie Chicken; and one grandchild, Ethan Heart, son of Janelle Heart.
Memorial donations can be made to the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen's Health Board, 1770 Rand Rd., Rapid City, SD, 57702.
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