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Lula Red Cloud and Harry Burk. Courtesy photo
Lakota matriarch carries on traditions
Friday, March 12, 2021
Native Sun News Today Health & Environment Editor

CRAZY HORSE – As the time comes for her to take part in welcoming the seasonal arrival of the Wakíŋyaŋ to Black Elk Peak, Lula Red Cloud also is preparing the third of four annual commemoration services for her late husband Harry Michael Lee Anukansun Hokshila Burk Sr.

A Northern Arapaho nicknamed Billy Jack, Burk took his journey to the spirit world on March 20, 2018, at the age of 92. His ashes are scattered here at Crazy Horse Mountain, where Red Cloud invites friends and relatives to “a small giveaway and feed” beginning at 1 p.m. on the same date this year.

“I do this memorial in the Lakota way for my husband,” Red Cloud told the Native Sun News Today, recalling Burk’s observation, “You may have lived a long time, but even at a very old age, you have lived only a buffalo’s breath in winter.”

Born Jan. 18, 1926, Burk was a World War II combat veteran. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” he was fond of saying. He kept a commitment to the warrior’s tradition as a Sun Dancer, Traditional Dancer, and a Southern Gourd Dancer. He was a lifelong cultural preservationist.

Among Burk’s unflagging passions were protecting bears in Utah and mountain lions in South Dakota; he supported Best Friends Animal Sanctuary of Utah, Custer Humane Society, and Battle Creek Humane Society of South Dakota, according to his obituary.

Moreover, Burke was a champion of civil rights and religious freedom. His lifetime achievements include defending the rights of workers as a labor union representative for the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers, now, the United Steel Workers Union.

He was a member of the American Indian Movement-Denver Chapter. He and Red Cloud started the AIM-Salt Lake City Chapter. He was the leader of an activist group that successfully lobbied the state of Utah to build a sweat lodge inside the prison for Native inmates.

NATIVE SUN NEWS TODAY

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