Native Sun News: Two Bulls is running for Oglala Sioux president

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

Theresa Two Bulls

Two Bulls running again
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer

PINE RIDGE –– One of the most recognized Native American tribes in the United States – the Oglala Sioux Tribe – has only had two female leaders in its history: Cecilia Fire Thunder and Theresa “Huck” Two Bulls.

Fire Thunder was the first Oglala Lakota woman to be elected to the office of tribal president in 2004, opening the door and leaving the path free for the next female president – Two Bulls.

Two Bulls is the second female in tribal history to hold the office of president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She was born in Oglala and went to school at Pine Ridge High School when it was known as Oglala Community School, or OCS. After earning an associate’s degree, Two Bulls began her career as a legal secretary while working on her bachelor’s degree. Upon graduation, Two Bulls found her way into law school and worked as an attorney.

In 2003, Two Bulls became a tribal prosecutor for the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General. The next year, she ran for state Senate; when she won, the Attorney General’s Office gave her a sabbatical in order to serve in state office.

Two Bulls was elected as a Democrat to the South Dakota Senate, representing the 27th District. She was the first American Indian woman elected to the state Senate.

The 27th District district includes Bennett, Haakon, Jackson and Shannon counties, representing a huge Native American population.

While serving in the Senate, Two Bulls was appointed to the State/Tribal Relations Committee, Health and Human Services Committee and was a member of the State & Local Government Committee.

She also served on a national task force to assist the Department of Justice in developing guidelines for a study on violence against Indian women and implementing the resulting recommendations. She was re-elected to the South Dakota Senate in 2006.

In 2008, Two Bulls was narrowly defeated for state office by Republican Jim Bradford, a teacher and former state representative. After losing to Two Bulls in the 2008 Democratic primary for the state Senate, Bradford had switched to the Republican Party and ran for the Senate seat from that position. About a year after the election, he rejoined the Democratic Party.

In 2008, Two Bulls was elected as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, defeating Russell Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who had placed first in the primary election.

When the rate of suicide rose among youth on the reservation in late 2009, Two Bulls declared a state of emergency to address the problem, gathered counselors to work with residents and organized a call-in to President Barack Obama in the White House to highlight the issue.

In October 2010, Two Bulls and John Yellow Bird Steele were the top two candidates for tribal president, so they competed in the November election that year. She narrowly lost to Steele, who won with 51.1 percent of the vote.

With the new election season closing in quickly on the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Two Bulls was pressed by dozens of tribal members to run for office again. With tribal members criticizing the current leadership in such high numbers, Two Bulls feels that the time is still upon her to step back in to the often harsh light of public office – facing the often insurmountable amount of public scrutiny and criticism – to provide leadership for her tribe.

Despite the lack of an actual, official announcement of her candidacy, Theresa “Huck” Two Bulls has confirmed to Native Sun News that she will be one of the names on the ballot for president of the OST for the 2012 election.

(Contact Karin Eagle at

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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