Faith Spotted Eagle is a 69 year old grandmother who lives on Ihanktonwan Dakota Territory (Yankton Sioux) in Southeastern South Dakota. She is a fluent speaker of the Dakota Language and a member of the Ihanktonwan, although she descends from the Sicangu, Hunpati, Hunkpapa and Mdewakantonwan of the Oceti /Peta Sakowinand has French/Irish blood through her grandmother Julia Deloria and John McBride.
In the western world, Faith attended college at American University in Washington, DC and Black Hills State College, Spearfish, South Dakota, and earned a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling in her early twenties at the University of South Dakota. Throughout her long career, she has been a high school counselor/teacher/principal; manager of Human Services Programs and Youth Programs; Indian Child Welfare Worker; Organizational Development Consultant; Teacher in a Psychiatric setting; Peacemaker/mediator; Community College Instructor; PTSD therapist and Community Activist. She was also a women’s basketball coach in Idaho. As a young student she was an intern in the office of Sen. Geo McGovern; served as an intern with the National Park Service in Glacier Park, Montana; and provided student input to the early development of Talent Search Programs in Chicago, Illinois. She worked with the groundbreaking Coalition of Indian Controlled Schoolboards in Denver, Colorado, the organization which played an important role in returning Native control of schools. She was one of the early instructors at Sinte Gleska College in Rosebud; one of the first Native Colleges in Indian Country. She did the early work of repatriation and cultural resources work at White Swan in her homeland at Ihanktonwan in a historical Section 106 foreclosure on the Corps of Engineers for disrupting a burial grounds in 1999 and was taught the oral history of sacred sites, burial and ceremonial areas from her grandparents who lived to be 104 and 107.
Currently, Faith works in Native communities with her model Healing from Red Rage, which has been widely used in Native Communities in the US and Canada. She also contracts with the Veteran’s Administration and many tribes and schools utilizing this model. She is a trained mediator/peacemaker and incorporates traditional peacemaking with western approaches of peacemaking. Her priority is the preserve the good medicine of the Dakota Culture for the future.
In the Dakota/Native world, she has been active in teaching the Dakota language in language nest settings; been a 20-year member and coordinator of a revived traditional Brave Heart Society which operates a multi-purpose lodge; comes from a Sundance family; and has helped revive the Isnati Awicadowanpi (Coming of Age Ceremony) for the last 20 years across the Seven Council Fires. Her Red Rage Model has been utilized as a foundation in the Brave Heart work. She has been active in leading resistance against Tar Sands Development and the KXL Pipeline. As the Chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee and Brave Heart Society Grandmother, she helped bring forth the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred against the KXL Pipeline and the Tar Sands. She is the volunteer Coordinator of the Brave Heart Lodge on the Ihanktonwan Reservation, which seeks to preserve Dakota cultural beliefs for the future. Brave Heart recently cooperated with other entities to revive Lacrosse/shinny in the Ihanktonwan homelands for the last seven years. She has been a delegate of the Treaty Committee NGO at the United Nations. She is the current Chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Steering Committee. She helped create an important cultural survey of Ihanktonwan lands along the Missouri River in South Dakota and other Treaty lands. Her priority has been to battle for the preservation of Sacred Sites through Brave Heart Society support of the World Peace and Prayer Day, represented by Bundlekeeper, Arvol Looking Horse. She has been a featured speaker and supporter at World Peace and Prayer Day in June in cooperation with Sacred Bundlekeeper, Arvol Looking Horse, Lakota. She works hard to unify tribal elected leaders, grassroots and allies of Grandmother Earth.
She was a recognized leader in the 10-year fight against the KXL Pipeline intrusion into Treaty Territory, since 2007. She was also an elder leader in protecting the Horn of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock in 2016, which gained worldwide attention. She was born into protecting the water and fighting federal environmental racism as her community of White Swan was destroyed by the coming of the US Army Corps Ft. Randall Dam, at the age of 2 years old.
Due to her lifelong work, she was recognized by what is called a “faithless elector” who cast their pre-designated vote for another candidate and instead voted for Faith Spotted Eagle in the US Electoral College in the 2016 national election. From this, Faith received the first Presidential electoral vote ever cast for a Native American in US History. She credits all of her lifelong work to the strong Dakota cultural way she was raised in the traditional White Swan Community by strong grandmothers/grandparents and her father, Henry Spotted Eagle, Padani Kokipesni, Not Afraid of the Enemy.