Jim Anderson passed away in Custer South Dakota April 6, 2022. He was survived by two brothers, Glen (Elaine) Anderson, SD, and Paul Anderson, AK. nieces and nephews, Michelle Anderson, SD, Jeff (Stacie) Anderson, SD, Kristie (Sergio) Flores, TX, Jon (Melanie) Anderson, SD, Christine Anderson, NV, and Brianna Anderson, AK.
Jim was a good friend of mine and taught me the ways of the Lakota.
He was a brilliant, personable educator who knew and studied the Lakota Culture extensively. Jim seemed to know people everywhere. He spent most of his life in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and was a counselor in the Lakota schools. Jim took me to meet some of his students years after his retirement from teaching. He spoke about the Lakota Culture and wanted to share the importance of their struggle on his many visits to Crow Creek with BHS students there. Jim often referred to Frank Fools Crow, a spiritual and civic leader of the Teton Sioux. Fools Crow “…was aggrieved by the social ills he saw besetting his own people and forthright in denouncing [those ills].” (Fools Crow by Thomas E. Mails, First Bison Book Printing, 1990).
Jim also gave me a special book, (He Walked With The Indians, by Doris Powers Lauing, Register-Lakota Printing, Inc, Chamberlain, SD, 2009). It is about Medicine Butte. We visited the area, near Blunt, South Dakota. Preserved by Royal (Roy) Runge, “The ceremonial ground has a serpent effigy about three hundred feet long, tapering to thirty inches at the end. Now only an outline, but once was solid filled. Each curve meant distance and direction of immigration for future Indians to follow. The serpent’s head stood for the direction in which they traveled.”(Page 56). This site is one of three filed in the National Archive of Historical Monuments and Native American Culture in Washington D.C. One is near Pipestone, Minnesota, and one is on the bluffs south of Fort Robinson, Nebraska.”(Page 57).
We also visited Bear Butte NP near Sturgis, SD. (Fools Crow’s Vision Quest).
Wind Cave NP (Bison) 11miles North of Hot Springs, SD.
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Hot Springs, SD.
The Indian Museum of North America & The Mountain-Crazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, SD. Jim and I also visited the Wounded Knee Memorial.
As Jim was explaining to me in great detail about the circumstances involving the Wounded Knee incident, a crowd of visitors gathered around us to listen and ask questions.
In the town of Pine Ridge, SD, we visited The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School. On the Reservation there, Jim introduced me to a number of Elders to discuss my visit to teach jewelry making in the park. I traveled to Pine Ridge with my “Mobile Jewelry Shop” for two seasons.
Many young Lakota at The Park showed an interest in my jewelry tent and tools. Younger children of all ages were brought to me from the Youth Center, and we made Jewelry and painted images of the American Flag.
Jim Anderson and Ray Piagentini were in constant communication with each other. So BHS students would have the best educational experience possible at the Zephier Ranch every year. The Crow Creek community Elders would contributed much to help us accomplish our goals.
In a celebration of Jim Anderson’s life, I am posting photos of our BHS students and the Lakota children. Ray Piagentini started the “Brother’s Keepers” program and organized the yearly trip to Crow Creek for many years before my time there. Jim visited us every year at Crow Creek to share his passion and knowledge of “Native American Culture”. There were many parent chaperones, teachers and administrators on the trip over the years, all organized by Ray.
In the photos from mostly 2016, you will see parents and educators; BHS students and alumni with Lakota children. Ray Piagentini, Jim Anderson, Thelma Condon, Our fabulous cook Tim Dunn, Dro Kholamian, Claire Obringer Hamilton, Chief Clark Zephier in full Regalia, and wife Pauline, daughter Mush Wells with son Inkpa, and myself John Anderson.
(The location is at the Zephier family property on the “Crow Creek Reservation” in Fort Thompson, SD. )
Other suggested reading from Jim Anderson and Ray Piagentini (retired counselor and sponsor of “BHS Brother’s Keeper” program, and Crow Creek Trip are: Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt , Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, Bison Books,1961. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown, Picador, Henry Holt & Co. NY. The Journey of Crazy Horse, by Joseph M. Marshall III, Penguin Books Group, (USA) Inc. NY, NY, 2005. Custer Died For Your Sins, by Vine Deloris, JR., Univ. of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1988. Mystic Visions: Black Elk’s Great Vision Clarified, by Quinton H. Young, Word Branch Publishing, Marble, NC, USA,2015. (My copy signed by the author).