Grandmother Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance

Oglala Lakota, Black Hills, South Dakota, USA

Our people know that the land and the language are one. If we lose one or the other we are no longer who we say we are. – Grandmother Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance

Unci means Grandmother in Lakota. Unci Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance is Oglala Lakota, she was born in the SW corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. She still lives on the land that was allotted to her great grandparents over 100 years ago. Unci Rita cherishes and advocates her traditional Lakota ways and language which she speaks fluently. Unci Rita is empathetic to single parents and their struggles to raise their children, because she her self was a single parent raising her children (and five of her oldest grandchildren) on her own.

Unci Rita is skilled in survival knowing how to dry food and make clothing traditional Lakota style or contemporary wear. Today Unci Rita is a grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother. Unci Rita feels that being part of the grandmothers council feels like family, like blood relation, like the other grandmothers feel like her sisters. Unci Rita said the most important job the grandmothers council has is to keep all the people in a straight line, “no matter what denomination or color they are”.