Lakota elder dies after receiving honor from state

John Around Him, a Lakota spiritual elder who was recently honored by the state of South Dakota, died on Wednesday. He was 64.

Around Him was a language instructor at Oglala Lakota College. He taught Lakota to hundreds of students on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Around Him, a Vietnam War veteran, also worked closely with Indian inmates to help them maintain their ties to their culture. His work prompted the state to declare August 28 as "John Around Him Day."

"I don't know when I will be called home, but I want you to continue on with my work. The students, they all need to learn. They will carry on; they will learn the words and the songs," he told attendees of the ceremony, The Rapid City Journal reported.

A two-night wake will begin at noon, Monday, September 25, at Little Wound School in Kyle. Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, September 27, at the school.

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Lakota spiritual leader dies (The Rapid City Journal 9/22)

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