Passing of Bea Medicine
Rights advocate Medicine dies
WAKPALA – Beatrice Medicine of Wakpala, a noted educator, scholar, author and advocate for minorities, has died.
Medicine, 82, died Dec. 19, 2005 during emergency surgery in Bismarck, N.D.
Medicine was born at Wakpala on Standing Rock Indian Reservation and grew up there. She graduated from South Dakota State University in 1945 and studied anthropology at several universities, earning a master’s degree at Michigan State University and a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in 1983.
Medicine taught at Indian schools and colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada, including Stanford University, Dartmouth College, San Francisco State University, the University of Washington, the University of Montana and the University of South Dakota.
She was the author of two books about indigenous women. The University of Illinois Press published a collection of her writings titled “Learning to be an Anthropologist and Remaining Native” in 2001.
Medicine was an advocate for the rights of children, women, ethnic minorities–especially American Indians–and gay, lesbian and transgendered people, according to a news release.
She served as head of the Women’s Branch of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples for the Canadian government, helping draft legislation to protect the legal rights of Indian families.
She served as an expert witness in several trials pertaining to the rights of American Indians, including the 1974 federal case brought against the individuals involved in the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973.
Medicine received awards including several honorary doctorates, the Ohana Award from the American Counseling Association, the Outstanding Woman of Color Award from the National Institute of Women of Color, an
Honoring Our Allies Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Bronislaw Malinowski Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the George and Louise Spindler Award for
Education in Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association.
Another less formal honor she was accorded was having been the Sacred Pipe Woman at the Sun Dance at Sitting Bull’s Camp in 1977.
After retiring from teaching, Medicine returned to the Wakpala area, where she helped ensure construction of a new public school and served on the school board for the Wakpala-Smee School District.
At Medicine’s request, there will be no services, and the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the American Indian College Fund, 8333 Greenwood Boulevard, Denver CO 80221.
My conversation with Bea Medicine came via Phil Lane Sr. who suggested I contact her if anything ever happened to him, so I could attain more information about why my information about the Pte Hincala Cannunpa Kin did not correspond with what was currently available…
I had called her in September of 2005, after getting up my courage, my cousin said Bea had been mean to her, so I thought Beatrice would tell me to take a hike…though, when she returned my call in October 2005, as she was packing to go back to the hospital for more tests…it was if we had known each other all of our lives….
With her throaty laugh, she gave me all I needed to continue on, my thoughts at the time was, if she doesn’t know…no one does!
Bea stated boldly, “My nephew is a fake!!!”
She heard my intake of breath over the phone & laughed repeating herself, “My nephew, Arvol Looking Horse is a fake-fraud…!”
I said quietly, “I have the Pte Hincala Cannunpa Kin….”
Without any hesitation Beatrice stated, “I know you have the Cannunpa Wakan, but what are you going to do with It?”
I replied earnestly, “I want to do what It was intended for, put the Calf Pipe back into ceremony.”
Bea said, “Those AIM Boyz do not want you doing that!”
She continued with a warning….”Be careful, they have murdered before, & will again if anyone threatens AIM’s hold on Lakota spirituality.”
We did not speak long, but our conversation was to the point, about which was foremost in our hearts, then & now…the future Legacy of the Pte Hincala Cannunpa Kin.
As we parted Beatrice Medicine assured me she would be assisting me in my quest to fulfill my intention in putting the Pte Hincala Cannunpa Kin back into ceremony, & once again in the hearts & souls of our Tetuwan Lakota people & all of mankind.
As instructed to all assembled, by Martha Bad Warrior when she gave the history, description, linage, origin & ceremonial use of our Sacred Calf Pipe to Wilbur A. Riegert in August 1936 at Martha’s request that he record her words to her Lakota people & all others in attendance.
Unfortunately, Beatrice did not survive her surgery…for if she had, many many things would be different today than they are currently with Arvol Looking Horse continuing on with his charade of being the 19th Generation White Buffalo Calf Pipe Keeper!
As Phil Lane Sr said in one of his last conversations with me before his death, “Sis, when I see your father, Calvin at the otherside camp, I will tell him you are doing good things with the Pte Hincala Cannunpa Kin, & we & your Lakota Ancestors will aid you in your quest to do the right thing with the Cannunpa by telling the truth of It’s true history.”
Cannunpa wakan wan oyate wicakahi kin heon,
Tokel econ wicasi kin hena ohinniyan ecunk’onpi kte,
Taku sica kin etanhan yuheyab unyuhapi kta.
Lecel ecunk’onpi kta ohinniyan awauncinpi kte.
Pilamayaye lo, Wakantanka.
The Sacred Pipe she gave to Our people
Will always be used as she did tell,
To keep it away from those of evil, the American Indian Movement!
To use it in the light & love of Wakantanka.
This we will strive to do.
Pilamayaye lo Wakantanka.