Image by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muskogee/Dine)

Image by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muskogee/Dine)

My art is my ability to sing and tell stories about my people, the Oglala Lakota.”
— Nellie Two Bulls

nellie two bulls

 

TRIBE: Oglala Lakota

MEDIUM: Storyteller

LOCATION: Pine Ridge, South Dakota

 

2006 COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD HONOREE

 

Nellie Two Bulls was born and lived over 79 years in the Payabaya Community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She is a direct descendent of Chief Man Afraid of His Horse. Nellie was married to Matthew Two Bulls for over 50 years and together they had seven children. The family now includes 30 grandchildren and over 64 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and over 100 hunka children and grandchildren. At the age of 12 Nellie received her Indian name Zintkala To Win (Blue Bird Woman) through a vision in which she was given the gifts of Songs and Stories. Since this time she has dedicated her life to fulfilling this vision by teaching the culture, songs and traditions of the Lakota People. Nellie says, "My art is my ability to sing and tell stories about my people, the Oglala Lakota. I have spent the majority of my life telling stories, and singing the traditional Lakota songs. This is my contribution to preserving our culture."

"Grandmother Nellie's mind and spirit are sacred repositories for the songs and stories of the Lakota people. Her voice evokes the old days but resonates with all who listen to her in these changing times. Whether at home on Pine Ridge Reservation, on the road to some cultural event in thecountry, singing an honoring song, or telling a story to instill virtues, Grandmother Nellie's artistic expression will continue to educate and enliven community members and visitors long into the future." - Jeff and Linda Lea Viken, nominators