Luke Black Elk (Thítȟuŋwaŋ Lakota) is a storyteller, grassroots activist, and traditional spiritualist. He has conducted research in water restoration, sustainable building design, and food sovereignty, and he hopes to use these techniques to encourage a more traditional way of life among his people. Luke was raised by his mother, who homeschooled him and strongly believed that his family, tribal elders and community members would be his best teachers. He has lived on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation his entire life, becoming deeply involved in cultural and community activities. Luke is currently the labor foreman for the Tatanka Wakpala Model Sustainable Community, which is building homes and a communal center on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. He is also heavily involved in community garden projects. Along with his duties as a Sundance leader and practitioner of the seven sacred rites of the Lakota, Luke is a father and is currently a student of environmental sciences at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND. Luke currently serves as the Director of Food Sovereignty at the Mni Wiconi Clinic on the Standing Rock Reservation.
Luke will be offering our 2018 Keynote Address and an intensive.
Saturday Night Keynote with Linda Black Elk:
“The Myth of Misplaced Medicine Culture”
Discussions of traditional ecological knowledge and contemporary herbalism often refer to the knowledge of Indigenous peoples as “lost,” “forgotten,” or “misplaced.” These conversations often leave out the universally destructive impact of colonization and the creativity, resiliency, and strength of Native people in securing the future of their cultures by “going underground.” This talk will provide a timeline of Lakota genocide and it’s impact on Plant knowledge, but it will also detail strategies we use for holding on to our lifeways, and our path towards a decolonized future.