Dana Lone Hill, Oyate WačhíŋyAŋpi was a dedicated Native woman, mother, writer and activist with a family history full of notable Lakota people on both sides of her parentage.
FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES: Dana Lone Hill (Feb. 29, 1972 – Nov. 15, 2019) can rest assured that her place in her tribe, the Oglala Lakota, was indisputable. On her mother’s side, she was the granddaughter of Susie Shot In The Eye, noted for walking back from Canada to be with her people and for being one of the most recognized Women Warriors, having fought in the Battle at Greasy Grass.
She fought valiantly alongside her sons Rock, Lone Hill, and High Wolf along with her husband Shot In the Eye. On her paternal side, her grandfather is Lone Elk who was later named Caesar and his wife Mattie Shields. Lone Elk is noted for being part of the charge that dispelled Reno during the Battle at Greasy Grass.
Fast-forward to 1973, Dana also had connections to both sides of the contentious Wounded Knee standoff. On her mother’s side, she was related to Richard “Dick” Wilson who was the president of the tribe at the time. On her father’s side, she was related to Pedro Bissonnette, one of the leaders and organizers of the American Indian Movement.
“Dana Lone Hill is a powerful new voice from Lakota Country that has so often been confined to historical stereotype or painted in a contemporary setting with a one dimensional brush. Dana shatters those shackles and forms a deeply personal, raw and moving narrative that takes the reader deep into contemporary life on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the world’s most complex and engaging societies.”
~Steven Lewis Simpson, director of the Native films Rez Bomb
Dana has published her first fiction novel, “Pointing With Lips” (PWL), set on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Because of the great success, the book has found, and despite her adamant stance that there would not be a sequel, Dana Lone Hill was allegedly working on part two of “Pointing With Lips”.
“You can find hundreds of books, stories, and information written about the Lakota people, but hardly none written by a Lakota person. This is why it is so important to write, we have our own stories. This is why our youth need to learn our stories, our ways, and to use their voices.”
“Pointing With Lips” is not Dana’s first foray into writing. She was a freelance writer for the Lakota Country Times since 2006, and actually had her first published piece of poetry in the Rapid City Journal at the tender age of eight.
“It is rare that you come across a new voice as authentic as Dana Lone Hill. She writes with passion and determination about a side of America that few will ever see. But Lone Hill takes you there with emotion and raw power. Pointing With Lips is a startling debut.”
Pointing With Lips covers a week in the life of Sincere Strongheart in Pine Ridge, interacting with many unforgettable characters in her large family. Sincere’s story is funny, raw, sad, even suspenseful, but the main struggle lives inside her as she hopes to overcome the buried demons of her past.
In addition to her writing, Dana Lone Hill was a very vocal activist for various causes in and around Indian Country. Recently one of the most sacred sites in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Pesla, came up for sale or auction.
Dana Lone Hill used her platform as a writer with founding writers Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle, Chase Iron Eyes, and Ruth Hopkins for Last Real Indians to call together the various tribes to help spearhead a campaign to bring that site back under the guardianship of Lakota tribes.
The campaign was successful and the site is now under the protection of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
“Pesla has the most meaning to me because we did it and it was so historic with the tribes coming together and listening to the people,” explains Dana.” Plus all the celebrities we were able to get to help us promote and get the awareness out there.”
Dana Lone Hill was definitely one of “The People’s Voices” due to her ability to speak the minds of the typical reservation resident as well as impart the value and use of “Indian Humor” that has helped her people sustain their existence despite it all.
Dana, age 47, passed away in Lake City, Minnesota on November 15, 2019. Her last wish was for her kids to spread her ashes at Yankee Stadium, and for someone to bail them out. FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES
“Dana worked hard to preserve her traditional ways and was a true artist with many skills. She blessed many with her beautiful beadwork, quillwork, poetry, and paintings. She was a devoted mother, a doting grandmother, loving daughter, sister, aunt, and niece. Her family depended on her and her constant smile. She will be remembered for her creative spirit and beautiful writing, and also for her relentless teasing, chicken adobo, and wateca skills.”
SOURCE: Written by Karin Eagle. Dana Lone Hill was the mother of four and held an award-winning column for LakotaCountryTimes.com called Rez In The City.