Patricia Locke

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Patricia Ann Locke
Patricia Locke.jpg
Patricia Ann locke

January 21, 1928
DiedOctober 20, 2001(2001-10-20) (aged 73)
NationalityUnited States, Lakota, and Chippewa
Other namesTawacin WasteWin (Compassionate Woman)
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
OccupationEducator and Leader for Native American Religion

Patricia A. Locke (Tawacin WasteWin) (January 21, 1928 – October 20, 2001) was a Native American educator-activist and converted to the Baháʼí Faith during a trip to South America. She was elected as the first Native American woman to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States. In 1991 she was a MacArthur Fellow, represented the US National Baháʼí community in Beijing at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and she was honored with the Indigenous Language Institute's Those Who Make a Difference award in 2001 just before her death. Posthumously she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2006, and in 2014 was a National Race Amity Conference honoree of a Race Amity Medal of Honor and the Google Cultural Institute included her in its listing Showcasing Great Women. Her son is renowned hoop dancer, flute player, and storyteller Kevin Locke.


Registered as Patricia Ann McGillis,[1][2] daughter of John and Eva (Flying Earth) McGillis was born January 21, 1928, Locke was raised on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation as a Standing Rock Sioux, Hunkpapa band also known as Lakota, and Mississippi Band of White Earth Chippewa. Her father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs[3] and enlisted during World War I after appealed the rejection because at the time Indians weren't considered citizens elligble for service.[4] Her Lakota name Tawacin WasteWin means "She has a good consciousness, a compassionate woman."[5]

In 1935 Locke participated in a demonstration of Lakota culture in dance and story telling at a local junior high school with her father and mother.[6] Locke graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1951. She was married to Charles E. Locke from 1952 to 1975; their son is Kevin Locke and daughter Winona Flying Earth.[2] She taught at University of California, Los Angeles, San Francisco State University, Alaska Methodist University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Southern Maine, to name a few.[7] In 1969 she offered an oral history which is held at the Library of Congress.[8][9] In 1970 she spoke out that Indians need to be the priority in solving social problems among Indians.[10] She saw to it her son Kevin was taught his heritage and sent him to the Institute of American Indian Arts for high school.[11] In 1975 she was the keynote speaker to the Native American Teacher Training Program with a topic "Competency-Based Native American Education".[12] She spoke out against federal government regulations affecting Indian governments in 1978,[13] supporting the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and was appointed to the Interior Department Task Force on Indian Education Policy in 1979.[2] Over time she also helped 17 tribes to establish Indian colleges.

In August 1988 she joined her son on the Trail of Light expedition of Native American Baháʼís traveling to South America.[14] Soon she lived on the Standing Rock Reservation[1] and was a Baháʼí for the last 10 years of her life.[15] During her time at Standing Rock she contributed a series of articles to a local newspaper describing Lakota life, ideals, and instances of feeling injustice the editor hoped would build bridges of understanding with the area's non-indigenous population.[4] In 1989 Locke interviewed Jacqueline Left Hand Bull for the newspaper about her view of the relationship of the Baháʼí Faith and Lakota belief especially in regards to the White Buffalo Woman - "When she said she'd return, it was a promise. Some of us believe that the promise has been fulfilled."[16] and Locke was particularly struck that, in Baháʼu'lláh's foundational experience, there was a vision of "a woman ... dressed in white".[17] She was the first Native Indian woman to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States and, up to her time, held the highest office of any Indian to serve.[15] The same year she also co-authored a paper "The Effects of Testing on Native Americans" for the National Commission on Testing and Public Policy.[18]

During that 1993 Parliament of Religions she was among those who, as part of the Native delegation and speaking as a Baháʼí delegate along with then[19] Continental Counsellor Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, attempted to have a resolution adopted by the Parliament named "American Indian Declaration of Vision 1993" which said in part:

One hundred years ago, during the 1893 Parliament of World Religions, the profoundly religious Original Peoples of the Western Hemisphere were not invited. We are still here and still struggling to be heard for the sake of our Mother Earth and our children. Our spiritual and physical survival continues to be threatened all over the hemisphere, we feel compelled to ask you to join us in restoring the balances of humanity and Mother Earth in these ways:

  1. Acknowledgement of the myriad of messengers of the Creator, the Great Mystery, to the peoples of the Western Hemisphere.
  2. Support in promoting, preserving and maintaining our Indigenous languages and cultures.[20]

The resolution was initially adopted by a near-unanimous vote by the delegates yet was ultimately nullified by the Chair of the Council Parliament, who overruled the vote because of a conflict over the Inter caetera Bull and the basic roll of the Parliament to discuss rather than take action.[21]

In 1994 she returned in support of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in its later revision.[1] In 1995 Locke served as chair of the Indigenous Women's Caucus at Fourth World Conference on Women, and represented the US National Baháʼí community, in Beijing.[22] In earlier 2001 she was invited to deliver a lecture at the University of Maryland - hers was entitled "Indigenous Women's Perspectives on Unity".[23]

Locke died while in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 20, 2001, of heart-failure[1] and was buried in nearby Paradise Valley, Arizona.[2] Her grandson, Anpao Duta Flying Earth, continues her work in indigenous language revitalization efforts and service to the community of Native Americans.[24]


  • 1991 MacArthur Fellows Program[25] for her lifelong work to preserve indigenous North American languages.[1]
  • In 1998-9 the artist Hollis Sigler made an art piece named 20 Years of Joy (Collaboration with Patricia Locke).[26]
  • She and her son were honored with the Indigenous Language Institute's Those Who Make a Difference award in 2001 just before her death.[27]

Jacqueline Left Hand Bull said of her: "... Tawacin Wastewin chose to follow a life path of service to her people, who at first were American Indians, grew to include all indigenous people, and by the end of her remarkable life, had grown to include all of her human family. ... In both personal matters and through interaction with the world around her, she began to tread a path that insisted upon justice. To obtain justice, she understood that power was needed, and soon it became clear that true power is spiritual, not material. ...[5]"

Posthumous awards[edit]

In 2011 John Kolstoe published a biography Compassionate Woman: The Life and Legacy of Patricia Locke.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Matt Sedensky (November 9, 2001). "Patricia Locke, 73, Champion of American Indians". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Myrna Oliver (November 3, 2001). "Patricia Locke, 73; Helped 17 Tribes Start Indian Colleges". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California.
  3. ^ Connie Cone Sexton (Dec 9, 2001). "Late Indian activist helped teach tribes". The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on February 22, 2002. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Stephanie Woodard (February 12, 2012). "Compassionate Woman: Biography of Activist Patricia Locke". Indian Country Today. Archived from the original on February 15, 2012. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Patricia Locke" (PDF). Native Language Network. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Indigenous Language Institute. Spring 2002. pp. 7–8. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Indian exhibit at school here". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. Ogden, Utah. Nov 2, 1935. p. 2. Retrieved Jan 18, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Patricia A. Locke (1928 - 2001)". Women of the Hall. National Women's Hall of Fame. 2005. Archived from the original on January 5, 2008. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Reminiscences of Patricia Locke, Chippewa General (Open Library)
  9. ^ Library of Congress LCCN Permalink 85113409
  10. ^ * "Says Indians want to solve own problems". Gazette-Telegraph. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Feb 2, 1970. p. 25. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  11. ^ "Hoop dancing and world citizenship: meet Kevin Locke". One Country. Baháʼí International Community. 8 (2). September 1996. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  12. ^ "Native American Directors to confer". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. May 2, 1975. p. 36. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Carter spoke with forked tongue: Indians". The Pantagraph. Bloomington, Illinois. 18 Jul 1978. p. 1. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Jacqueline Left Hand Bull (July 1989). "'Trail of Light' in Peru, Bolivia". Baháʼí News. 12 (699). pp. 2–9. Retrieved Jan 18, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Patricia Locke: an American Indian hero". National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. June 28, 2006. Archived from the original on 2010-12-28. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  16. ^ Patricia Locke (1989). "The Return of the "White Buffalo Calf Woman": Prophecy of the Lakota". Newspaper articles archive: 1970-1995. National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  17. ^ Pauline Tuttle (2001). ""Beyond Feathers and Beads" - Interlocking Narratives in the Music and Dance of Tokeya Inahim (Kevin Locke)". In Carter Jones Meyer; Diana Royer (eds.). Selling the Indian: Commercializing & Appropriating American Indian Cultures. University of Arizona Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-8165-2148-7.
  18. ^ Sandra J. Fox (1999). "Student Assessment in Indian Education; or What Is a Roach ?" (PDF). Next Steps: Research and Practice To Advance Indian Education. ERIC. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Served from 1988 to 2001 - see "House of Justice appoints 11 Counsellors to fill vacancies on Continental Boards, pays loving tribute to retiring Counsellors". Baháʼí News. No. 689. August 1988. p. 1. ISSN 0195-9212. and Barrett, David B.; Todd Michael Johnson (2001). "Who's Who in the Non-Christian world, AD 1900- AD2000". In . Guidry, Christopher R; Crossing, Peter F. (eds.). World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200: Interpreting the Annual Christian Megacensus (illustrated ed.). William Carey Library. p. 354. ISBN 9780878086085.
  20. ^ Addison, Donald Francis; Christopher Buck (2007). "Messengers of God in North America Revisited: An Exegesis of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's Tablet to Amír Khán" (PDF). Online Journal of Baháʼì Studies. 1 (2007): 180–270. ISSN 1177-8547. Retrieved Nov 9, 2012.
  21. ^ Taliman, Valerie (September 1993). "Parliament's chair nullifies "Vision" as delegates leave". News From Indian Country. Archived from the original on August 30, 2008. Retrieved Nov 9, 2012.
  22. ^ "Equality, Development, and Peace: Baháʼís and the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women". Baháʼí International Community. 1996. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  23. ^ "Complete List of Chair Publications". Baháʼí Chair for World Peace, University of Maryland. 2001. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  24. ^ "NACA Fellowship Team". Native American Community Academy. 2014. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  25. ^ "Patricia Locke - Tribal Rights Leader and Educator". MacArthur Fellows Program. July 1, 1991. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "20 Years of Joy (Collaboration with Patricia Locke)". Sculpture. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 2011. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  27. ^ "National Endowment Campaign Launched to Spearhead Native Language Revitalization" (PDF). Native Language Network. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Indigenous Language Institute. Spring 2002. pp. 1–3, 5, 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  28. ^ * "2014 Race Amity Medal of Honor Recipients". National Race Amity Conference. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  29. ^ Patricia Locke (2014). 2014 Medal of Honor Recipient: Patricia Locke (video). National Center for Race Amity.
  30. ^ "Mar 8, 2014 - Showcasing Great Women". Mar 8, 2014. Retrieved Jan 17, 2015.
  31. ^ John E. Kolstoe (1 January 2011). Compassionate Woman: The Life and Legacy of Patricia Locke. Baha'i Pub. ISBN 978-1-931847-85-8.