Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook, Grandmother (Oglala Sioux Nation, Turtle Island)

Grandmother Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. She was born at home on Pine Ridge, South Dakota on November 22, 1947. She is the faith keeper and holder of the Afraid of Bear/American Horse Sundance Pipe. Fluent in the Lakota language and protocols, she serves as a cultural specialist and ceremonial keeper for her People. Loretta has made promoting Indigenous education and defending the political and human rights of Native peoples her life’s work. Her activism began in her twenties on the Trail of Broken Treaties as one of 800 Natives who occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C. during the federal election week of November 1972. Their 20-point position paper became the basis of Indian thinking across Indian Country since, addressing the restoration of Indian lands and the reconstruction of a future for Indian peoples. Sixteen of the 20 points have been resolved in the 47 years since that time.