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Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux artist gets humanitarian award

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment | National
More on: don montileaux, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota

The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer, All content © Native Sun News.

Don Montileaux has been named the 2013 George Zeise Humanitarian Award recipient through the Rapid City YMCA.

Montileaux recognized with humanitarian award
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY – An award that celebrates compassion and inclusion for all ages and races was recently granted to a local Lakota artist and Rapid City community member. The 2013 George Zeise Humanitarian Award for 2013 has gone to Don Montileaux, Oglala Lakota.

Having grown up on the reservation and in Rapid City, Montileaux was recognized for his knowledge of both cultures and his ability to translate both through his art. A world renowned artist, Montileaux shares his artistic ability with people of all races.

The award is named for George Zeise, the executive director of the YMCA of Rapid City from 1968-1988. It recognizes individuals in the Rapid City community who have embraced Zeise’s principles and compassion towards people of all ages and races and have applied them toward bringing people from all walks of life together in a sense of unity.

Through careers including the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, ranching, and most recently the First People’s Fund, Montileaux has always been thankful for his dual heritage and God-given talent. During his youth, there were two things that Don always wanted: to be able to share his artistic talent and to live on West Boulevard. Both childhood dreams have come true.

The Rapid City YMCA started because there was a vision within the community to serve by providing programs and services to meet the physical, social, mental and spiritual needs of the people of Rapid City.

In the 1940's a youth center was established in a downtown building that was named "The Cactus Patch." Later, it was relocated in the Duhamel building. Don Knecht took over The Cactus Patch as he spearheaded an effort to organize the YMCA of Rapid City.

One of the most notable changes took place in the 1950's when the YWCA and the YMCA merged. The YWCA originally owned the "White House" on Kansas City Street, which is now where the current YMCA building stands. Through generous donations made by members of the community, the YMCA facility has continued to grow and expand. In the mid-1990's, when funds for the Randy Travis Wellness Center , the Rapid City Gymnasium and the Brian Vucurevich Child Development Center addition were being raised, Randy Travis wanted to help.

Randy Travis is a friend of a member of the YMCA of Rapid City. While in town to perform a sold out concert, Randy Travis donated all of the ticket sales to the YMCA expansion. The Randy Travis Wellness Center was named for his generosity.

In October 2008, the Randy Travis Wellness Center went under a renovation bringing in new cardio and free weight equipment as well as new flooring.

The YMCA's last project was the expansion of an Aquatic Center, which includes a leisure warm water pool, an eight lane lap pool, a family locker room, remodeled women's locker room and rooftop playground.

As a reminder as to why he was honored for his humanitarianism and generosity within the Rapid City community and beyond, Montileaux has generously donated an original artwork to the YMCA as a means to raise monies for the YMCA programs.

More information on the Rapid City YMCA and the George Zeise Humanitarian Award please visit

More information about the art work of Don Montileaux can be found at

(Contact Karin Eagle at

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