Therese Martin is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s eldest tribal member celebrates her 100 years of life on November 3, 2016. She received kind words and well-wishes, not to mention countless cards and gifts as the community celebrated her 100th birthday.
Therese Martin has imparted a lot of things to her community. Not only while she served as a teacher, but is an icon in Indian education. It was a priority throughout her career to teach our generations about historic native people’s ways.
She is indeed one of our community’s greatest treasures!
STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE’S ELDEST TRIBAL MEMBER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS
She has lived through every foreign war the United States has participated in, the Great Depression and more than 15 Presidents. She has witnessed some of this country’s most historical pieces of legislation including the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978.
Experiencing a lifetime of suppression of language and culture, she expressed multiple times that one of her life’s greatest experiences was to teach her own people about the Lakota language and culture. When Sinte Gleska University first opened its doors on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, she attended as an undergraduate student in the 1970’s to relearn her language so she could teach the next generation.
No doubt a Lakota woman of great generosity, kindness, love and faith, Therese shared her life’s journey on faith: “There is a heaven for all of us and I’m looking forward to that. I feel I can pray better in my own language. It seems like God understands more and I talk to him like I’m talking to a friend and it seems like he hears me. He has kept me well all these years. I want to stay healthy so I can pray to the Creator, to be good to people—I love all people.”
Being old doesn’t mean you’re the least priority of the community. You have to take a look of the journey that individual gone through all those years, what they contributed in the society during their younger days and even today now that they are old. I think it does make sense!