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Lakota spiritual leader, activist Leonard Crow Dog dies

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FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Chief Leonard Crow Dog listens during an orientation at Sitting Bull College in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Crow Dog, 78, died Sunday, June 6, 2021, at his home at Crow Dog’s Paradise on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The renowned Lakota spiritual leader and activist fought for tribal sovereignty, language preservation, religious freedom and traditional ways of life.

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Chief Leonard Crow Dog, a renowned spiritual leader and Native American rights activist who fought for sovereignty, language preservation and religious freedom, has died at age 78.

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Crow Dog, Sicangu Lakota Oyate, passed away June 6 at Crow Dog’s Paradise on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota after a battle with cancer, Indian Country Today reported.

As a youth, Crow Dog learned about cultural traditions and ceremonies from his father and Lakota elders. He later became a spiritual leader for the American Indian Movement.

“He did not go to school. Instead his parents enlisted four medicine men to guide his education,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux said in a statement. “Throughout his life, Crow Dog learned from the University of the Universe, as he would say, and he shared his understanding of WoLakota with our Sicangu Oyate, the Oceti Sakowin, and Peoples of all Nations.”

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Crow Dog attended and spoke at countless rallies, marches and protests over the years. He also co-authored a book, “Crow Dog: Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men,” which tells the story of his ancestors and his life.

In 1972, Crow Dog took part in the Trail of Broken Treaties, which included the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ headquarters in Washington, D.C. He also participated in and was arrested after the 71-day occupation at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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