First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 104

MEMORIAL GREG HOLY BULL March 28, 1965–December 29, 2018 G REGORY GILES HOLY BULL, whose Lakota name, Tate O Kinyan, translates as Flying Wind, was a visual artist, singer, Lakota teacher, storyteller, public speaker, master horseman, pipe carrier, and sun dancer, who lifted up his Lakota and Dakota people in many ways throughout his complex life. His parents were Martin Holy Bull (1920–1980) and Agatha Reel Howard Holy Bull (1918–2007) from Wakpala, South Dakota. They both spoke Lakota, so Holy Bull’s first language was Lakota, which he later taught at the University of North Dakota. Enrolled in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Holy Bull grew up on the Eagle Butte in South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, and, later, on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. He graduated from Helena High School in Montana. Holy Bull first earned an associate degree from the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. Later he earned a BFA degree from University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and at the time of his passing, he was studying in their MFA program. Two of his metal above Greg Holy Bull. left & right Grey Holy Bull (Cheyenne River Sioux), details of stained glass. All images courtesy of his family. sculptures are in the university’s perma- nent collection and on display at its American Indian Center. Images of the sculptures are included in Storytelling Time: Native North American Art from the Collections of the University of North Dakota (Hudson Hills, 2010). Active in the powwow commu- nity, not just as a dancer but also as an arena director, judge, organizer, and drummer, Holy Bull sang with numerous drum groups. He also composed his own original songs, and one, “Tammy Sparvier’s Song,” was recorded by the Assiniboine Jr. Singers on their album Pow-Wow Songs, Volume 5, released by Canyon Records. Holy Bull and his son Gerimiah went on tour with the Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre to New York City. The dance troupe was founded in 1978 102 | WWW.FIRSTAMERICANARTMAGAZINE.COM on the Rosebud Reservation to share Lakota dances, songs, and oral history with diverse audiences. A superb horseman, who had also been a bull rider on the rodeo circuit, Holy Bull served as a consultant for Sunka Wankan Ah Ku (Bring Back the Horses), a program sponsored by the Spirit Lake Tribe for young people to learn horse- manship, life skills, and Dakota cultural values. He was also a storyteller and regu- larly gave talks and presentations about Lakota/Dakota culture. Besides sculpting metal, Holy Bull pursued several other artistic forms, including beadwork and stained glass. Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College, commissioned him to create a stained- glass panel for a new administrative building on the college’s campus in Fort Totten, North Dakota. Holy Bull officiated at many Lakota and Dakota people’s funerals. He is survived by a large extended family that includes his four sons—Gerimiah “Jesse” Holy Bull, Tyson Holy Bull, Brendon Cardova, Randy Holy Bull—and one daughter, Tara Holy Bull. Holy Bull’s legacy lies with his family, the many tribal members he helped, his Lakota language students, and his stories, songs, and enduring public artworks that cele- brate the Lakota worldview. —America Meredith