Today, Governor Kristi Noem issued a statement on the passing of Kevin Locke, Hunkpapa Lakota of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a world-renowned flute player and hoop dancer.
“Bryon and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Kevin Locke, who was a vibrant voice of South Dakota arts. Mr. Locke made many contributions to preserving and proudly displaying Lakota culture, arts, and history throughout the world,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “He received numerous impressive awards for his work in the arts, including the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 and an Artist Fellowship from the South Dakota Arts Council, the state arts agency’s highest honor for individuals, in 2020.”
“During the 2022 legislative session, Mr. Locke was our honored guest cultural performer for the State-Tribal Relations Capitol Rotunda event and at the Department of Tribal Relations’ legislative reception where he shared song, dance, storytelling, and flute music for state legislators and their spouses,” continued Governor Noem. “Mr. Locke also provided support testimony to HB 1196, which recognized the native flute as the state’s official indigenous instrument. Thanks in part to Mr. Locke, that bill was passed, and I signed it into law.”