Schyler And Shirley Dawn To Speak At Native American Heritage Month Event On Wednesday, Nov. 14

Jenny Holen
Office of Multicultural Affairs, 308.865.8127

Traditional ways and customs of the Lakota tribe in today’s society will be the focus of a Native American Heritage Month presentation by Schyler and Shirley Dawn on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

“Schyler and Shirley are good Native American people who practice the Native ways in their everyday life,” said Kurt Siedschlaw, UNK professor of criminal justice and social work. The two, who are sponsored jointly by the UNK Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Schyler “Sky” Dawn’s father is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation. His mother is of the Sicangu Oyate Lakota Nation on the Rosebud Reservation. Two of his grandfathers were medicine men, and his uncle is a medicine man.

Schyler, who grew up in Alliance, was raised on traditional Lakota ways, but became involved in many of the challenges and issues of living within a dominant society, and lost connection with the traditions of the Lakota. He rediscovered traditional spirituality while in the Nebraska prison system. Today, he leads a traditional life as a spiritual adviser, traditional singer and a community activist.

Shirley Dawn was also raised in Alliance. Her father is of the Rosebud Sicangu Oyate Lakota Nation, and her mother is of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Shirley was raised as a Catholic, but her grandmother knew the traditional ways of the Lakota and shared them with her. It was when Schyler returned from prison with a renewed understanding of traditional spirituality that Shirley reconnected with Lakota ways and the importance of women within the Lakota tradition.

Siedschlaw said that this event in Native American Heritage Month is “a time to focus on the indigenous cultures.”