Standing Rock culture-keeper LaDonna Brave Bull Allard

BISMARCK (UTN) – Only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ is known about the history and culture of Native People, according to historian and Native culture-keeper LaDonna Brave Bull Allard. In a talk November 28 at United Tribes Technical College, Allard described the need for tribal people to be the ones to learn their history and teach it.

“Nobody else will do this for us. We have to do it,” she said of the need for seeing things from a Native point of view.

Allard (Dakota/Lakota) is an enrolled citizen at Standing Rock and the tribe’s former historic preservation officer. In April 2016, she formed the Sacred Stone Camp along Cannon Ball River to host water-protectors gathered to resist construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. The movement eventually attracted an estimated 10,000 indigenous people and environmental activists to area, making it perhaps the largest intertribal gathering of Native People in North America in centuries.

“We have to change the narrative about us by telling our history and stories for ourselves,” she said, referring to information that is written and presented by those from outside the culture. “We, especially, have to be the ones to teach our own children.”

Allard’s work in tribal tourism resulted in a love of North Dakota history, she said. But much or most of her information and insight is sourced from oral and visual knowledge handed down within the culture from oral histories, winter counts and pictographs.

Her talk at UTTC titled, “Honoring Our Culture, Ancestors and Prophecies,” was presented as part of the college’s observance of North Dakota Native American Heritage Month. About 50 people attended the event in the James Henry Community Gym, where two tipi lodges were set-up and cultural artifacts were on display.

For more information, please contact Melvin Miner, 701-221-1750,


United Tribes News photos DENNIS J. NEUMANN