LaDonna Brave Bull Allard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard at Mount Allison University.jpg
LaDonna Tamakawastewin Brave Bull Allard

(1956-06-08)June 8, 1956
DiedApril 10, 2021(2021-04-10) (aged 64)
Fort Yates, North Dakota, United States
Occupation(s)Historian, activist
Known forDakota Access Pipeline protests

LaDonna Tamakawastewin (Good Earth Woman) Brave Bull Allard (June 8, 1956 – April 10, 2021) was a Native American Dakota and Lakota historian, genealogist, and a matriarch of the water protector movement.[1][2][3] In April 2016, she was one of the founders of the resistance camps of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, aimed at halting the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.[4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard was born in Fort Yates, North Dakota, on June 8, 1956, to Valerie Lovejoy and Frank Brave Bull.[8] Her people are Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ, Pabaska (Cuthead) and Sisseton Dakota on her father's side and Hunkpapa, Lakota Blackfoot and Oglala Lakota on her mother's side.[9][10] She is a descendant of Chief Rain-in-the-face who fought Custer at the Battle of Greasy Grass.[11][12] She is also a descendant of Oyate Tawa, one of the 38 Dakota people hung in the largest mass execution in US history in Mankato, Minnesota, and of Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin), a survivor of the Whitestone Massacre.[13] She was an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.[14][15]

Brave Bull Allard spent much of her younger years with her grandmothers Alice West and Eva Kuntz.[16] As a child, she hauled her family's drinking water by horseback from the Inyan Wakangapi Wakpa (River that Makes the Sacred Stones), the Cannonball River. At its confluence with the Missouri River, there was a whirlpool that created large, spherical sandstone formations, known as Sacred Stones. In the 1950s, this sacred site was destroyed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the mouth of the Cannonball River as they finished the Oahe Dam.[17] The dam flooded Brave Bull Allard's land along with 160,000 acres of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and 300,000 acres of the Cheyenne River Reservation. Her family was among numerous Tribal communities along the Missouri River that were forced to relocate to new sites on the plains above the river valley.[18]

Brave Bull Allard attended the Standing Rock Community College and Black Hills State College, and later graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in History.[9][16]


After college, Brave Bull Allard worked for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as the cultural resource planner. Later, she helped create the Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Tourism Office, where she was instrumental in establishing the Standing Rock Scenic Byway which passes many historic sites including the place where Sitting Bull was killed.[19] She also helped oversee improvements to Sitting Bull's Fort Yates grave site after the land was repatriated to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in 2007.[20]

As a historian, Brave Bull Allard worked with many institutions to document Indigenous genealogy, narratives and culture. In 2009, she helped coordinate Wiyohpiyata: Lakota Images of the Contested West, an exhibition at the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard University.[21] In 2019 she became an official representative for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.[16] In 2020, she was featured in the PBS documentary Zitkála-Šá: Trailblazing American Indian Composer and Writer.[17] Some of her extensive tribal genealogy work can be seen at a history website called American Tribes.[22]

Movement work[edit]

The first resistance camp of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Sacred Stone Camp, was established on Brave Bull Allard's family's land at the confluence of the Cannon Ball River and the Missouri River.[4][23][24][25][26] The resistance camps were initially quite small, but grew exponentially in size after she posted an emotional plea for help on social media.[4][23]

These protests sought to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline because it crossed lands protected by the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), threatened historic sacred sites, and ran beneath the Lake Oahe reservoir, the drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. During the construction of the pipeline, workers bulldozed burial grounds and other archeological sites identified by Brave Bull Allard and others working with the Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office.[27] The movement at Standing Rock brought thousands of people together to form the largest intertribal alliance on the American continent in centuries, with more than 200 tribal nations represented.[28][29][30][31]

After years of resistance and protest, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous organizers scored a legal victory on June 6, 2020, when a federal judge ordered pipeline owner consortium Dakota Access LLC, controlled by Energy Transfer Partners (founder and CEO Kelcy Warren), to stop operations and empty its pipelines of all oil pending an environmental review that could take a year. The court said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated national environmental law when it granted an easement to Energy Transfer to build and operate beneath Lake Oahe because it failed to produce an adequate Environmental Impact Statement.[32][33]


Brave Bull Allard received many accolades for her movement work. In 2017, she was featured Sierra Club's People Power List, represented the water protector movement to receive the DePaul University Humanities Laureate Award and appear as finalists for the MIT Disobedience Award, and she received the Rebel of the Year Award from Conservation Colorado.[34][35][36][37] In 2019, she received the Pax Natura Award and the William Sloane Coffin Jr. Peacemaker Award.[38][39]


In 2020, Brave Bull Allard was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer and underwent brain surgery. On April 10, 2021, her family announced her death in Fort Yates, North Dakota. She was preceded in death by her son Philip Levon Hurkes in 2009, and her husband, Miles Dennis Allard, in 2018.[4][40]

Upon her death, North Dakota State Representative Ruth Buffalo said, "Her courage was contagious and inspiring. She was very knowledgeable of the extensive history of the land and worked to preserve our history and sacred sites." South Dakota state Senator Red Dawn Foster said, "She inspired the world with her love for the water, the land, the people, and the love she shared with her husband Miles."[4]


  1. ^ Halpin, Mikki. "The Fiercest Woman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Says Young Natives Will Save the Planet". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  2. ^ "LaDonna Brave Bull Allard 'changed history'". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  3. ^ "Meet the Brave, Audacious, Astonishing Women Who Built the Standing Rock Movement". Jezebel.
  4. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Darren. "LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard, Leader of Standing Rock's Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Passes On". Native News Online. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  5. ^ "LaDonna Brave Bull Allard's land is home to water protectors at Standing Rock". CBC Radio.
  6. ^ "Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Dakota Excess Pipeline? Standing Rock Protectors Strip-Searched, Jailed for Days on Minor Charges". Democracy Now!.
  8. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (2021-04-19). "LaDonna Allard Dies at 64; Led Dakota Pipeline Protests". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  9. ^ a b "Turtle Island Storyteller LaDonna Brave Bull Allard".
  10. ^ "Ladonna Brave Bull Allard". + + + +. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  12. ^ "Rain-The-Face |". Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  13. ^ Allard, LaDonna Bravebull. "Why the Founder of Standing Rock Sioux Camp Can't Forget the Whitestone Massacre". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  14. ^ Allard, LaDonna Brave Bull (2016-09-03). "Interview with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing Rock Sioux tribal historian, on the 153rd anniversary of the Whitestone massacre". Democracy Now! (video). Interviewed by Amy Goodman. Event occurs at 42:26. Archived from the original on 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  15. ^ "Standing Rock Sioux Historian: Dakota Access Co. Attack Comes on Anniversary of Whitestone Massacre". Democracy Now!. September 8, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c "LaDonna Allard Obituary - Visitation & Funeral Information". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  17. ^ a b Allard, LaDonna Bravebull. "Why the Founder of Standing Rock Sioux Camp Can't Forget the Whitestone Massacre". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  18. ^ "What Lies Beneath Lake Oahe | Rebecca Bengal". Lapham’s Quarterly. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  19. ^ Donovan, Lauren. "Highway named scenic byway". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  20. ^ Springer, Patrick (June 10, 2007). "Laid to rest: Lakota leader's legacy is being restored after years of neglect". INFORUM. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  21. ^ "Remembering LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (1956-2021) | Peabody Museum". Archived from the original on 2021-04-19. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  22. ^ "". Retrieved 2021-04-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ a b "Sacred Stone camp given trespass notice". The Bismarck Tribune. 17 Feb 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  24. ^ "At The Sacred Stone Camp, Tribes And Activists Join Forces To Protect The Land". NPR. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Why do we punish Dakota pipeline protesters but exonerate the Bundys?". The Guardian.
  26. ^ "At Standing Rock, women lead fight in face of Mace, arrests and strip searches". The Guardian.
  27. ^ ""They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We're asking the court to halt this path of destruction."". EcoWatch. 2016-09-07. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  28. ^ Northcott, Charlie (2 September 2016). "Life in the Native American oil protest camps". BBC. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  29. ^ "A Native American fight to stop an oil pipeline is a "morally embarrassing reminder" of America's founding". Quartz. No. 6 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Native Americans Hold Largest Convergence in a Century to Oppose Oil Pipeline". The Real News Network. September 2, 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  31. ^ "The Standing Rock Resistance Is Unprecedented (It's Also Centuries Old)". NPR. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  32. ^ ""A Dream That Comes True": Standing Rock Elder Hails Order to Shut Down DAPL After Years of Protest". Democracy Now!.
  33. ^ "Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules". The New York Times. 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  34. ^ "The People's Power List". Sierra Club. 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  35. ^ "The Humanities Laureate Award 2016-17". DePaul University. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  36. ^ "Defiance: Disobedience for the good of all". MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  37. ^ Bunch, Joey. "Conservation Colorado to honor Standing Rock Sioux leader as a Rebel with a Cause". Colorado Politics. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  38. ^ Natura, Pax (2019-08-21). "The Pax Natura Award". Pax Natura. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  39. ^ "WSC Peacemaker Awards | Peace Action New York State". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  40. ^ "new member |". Retrieved 2021-04-12.

External links[edit]