A Gift of Words: Lydia Whirlwind Soldier’s Survival Songs

“Sicangu Lakota poet and author Lydia Whirlwind Soldier spent 30 years teaching elementary school and Indian studies to Todd County students. Even in retirement her words continue to educate — no surprise for a woman who is a founding member of the Oak Lake Tribal Writers’ Society and received the  South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award in 2015. 

Whirlwind Soldier was inspired to use her poetry to help support education about Native culture, so she donated her second book, Survival Songs, to the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), a nonprofit located in the Pine Ridge Reservation near Martin. CAIRNS board member, SDSU professor emeritus Charles Woodard, helped her prepare the work for publication, and the book was released this year.” (Excerpt from South Dakota Festival of Books Guide, 2020, p. 10).