Kurt BlueDog, 1950-2020, is seen outside the White House following a Medal of Honor ceremony for his great-uncle Woodrow Wilson Keeble on March 3, 2008. Photo: Carrie L. McLeroy

Kurt BlueDog passes on after dedicating life to Indian Country

Wiconhpi Toiciye
February 25, 1950 - May 12, 2020

Kurt BlueDog passed away due to cancer related complications. He was born to Jerena BlueDog on February 25, 1950, and delivered at home by his Grandfather, Elmer Rockwood Sr.

He attended school at the Enemy Swim Day School, Waubay High School, and attended college at the University of South Dakota graduating in 1972. He also served as a Commissioned Officer with the First Calvary Division (paratrooper) in the U.S. Army as a Signal Officer. He graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law and was sworn in as a member of the State Bar Association in 1977.

Kurt was preceded in death by his maternal great grandfather Sunkatoiciye (Chief BlueDog) and by his maternal great uncle Msgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble, and by his sop-father Emmett Roberts and his mother, Jerena BlueDog Roberts and by siblings Keith Verlan Roberts, Sheila Roberts, Gwen Roberts, Gail He's. Keith Kerwin Roberts, Jackie Birney and by many other fine relatives.

He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Violet Bluedog - nee Little, a proud member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Five children to include Kristin Hendricks of Pennsylvania (fiance Joe Sandbakken, CW5, U.S. Army); Brandy Late of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (Sgt. David Late, U.S. Anny); Brian BlueDog of New Hope, Minnesota (wife Rachel); step-daughter Michelle Mills of Crystal, Minnesota ; and stepson Chad Mills of Albuquerque, New Mexico (wife Nancy). Grandchildren: Zachary, Alyssa, Jessica, Braden, Elizabeth, Sage, Justin, Jeremy, James, Conner, Daniel and Adrian Kurt. Great-grandchildren: Cj, Davao, Alden, Nakai, Aubrey, Elias, and Carte.

He is also survived by his aunt, Germaine Rockwood of Watertown, South Dakota; siblings Sandra Menus of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Lawrence, Kansas. Rachel Roberts of Watertown, South Dakota. Kevin Roberts of Waubay, South Dakota (Darlene Jo) Roxanne Roberts of Watertown, South Dakota Brother-in-Law Rex Birney of Orley, South Dakota. Bridgette Roberts of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Debra Roberts Ross of Granite Falls, Minnesota, and numerous Nieces and Nephews.

Throughout his 43 year career as an Attorney, he was always a proud and supportive member of the Sisseton-Wapehton Sioux Tribe. His early career led him to a seven-year temp as a Staff Attorney with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) of Boulder, Colrado. In addition to handling a heavy workload of federal court litigation on behalf of Native Americans, he assisted in drafting and enactment of legislation to include the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Texas Band of Traditional Kickapoo Act, and the Tribally-Controlled College Assistance Act.

C-SPAN: Kurt BlueDog and Russell Hawkins at White House

His most recent projects included; assisting in coordinating the 2,600 acre purchase and mist land declaration of the Black Hills sacred site "Pe Sla" on behalf of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Sioux Tribes; assisted in prosecution, settlement and distribution of funds to 10 Tribes in the Federal Court; and placement of a memorial to his Grandfather Sunkatoiciye at Enemy Swim Lake.

He is a former Chief Judge for the Fond du Lac, Lower Sioux and Prairie Island Tribes Tribal Courts (over 20 years). He also served as an adjunct professor at the William Mitchell and Hamlin University Schools of law reaching Federal Indian Law. Among other Tribal clients, he served for over 20 years as Legal Counsel to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe.

At the time of his passing he was serving on the Board of Directors -Executive Board for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) (24 years), the NIGA Spirit of Sovereignty Committee (6 years). Vice Chairman for NARF. the Minnesota Historical Society (4 years). and the Advisory Committee for the Smithsonian Museum - Native American Veteran's Memorial Project.

It was Kurt's wish to have a private Family Burial at Bluedog Lake in South Dakota.

I am very saddened to hear that Kurt Bluedog passed on. During his 43 years as a lawyer, he assisted in the drafting of...

Posted by Joe Horse Capture on Thursday, May 14, 2020

It brings me great sadness to announce that my Grandfather, Wicah'pi Toic'iya, Kurt Bluedog has passed on to the spirit...

Posted by Sage Mills on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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