Remembering Kevin Locke; father, grandfather, friend, and warrior of peace

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We brought you the tragic news of Kevin Locke’s unexpected passing at the beginning of the week. Today we’ll talk to his son and someone close to him about his life and the work he did to foster relationships and Native American culture.

Kevin Locke was a compassionate man, driven by his giving spirit to share his knowledge and culture with others. His son, Ohiyesa, recalls the path his cultural and artistic career took.

“It was his calling in life, when he started in college, he started to be a lawyer and he knew right away that wasn’t his path in life. He went on to get his master’s degree in education and he was the superintendent at, I think, Standing Rock Middle School,” said Ohiyesa Locke, Kevin’s son.

Kevin was an accomplished hoop dancer and flute player. He recorded 12 studio albums of music and stories, and in 1999 won the Native American Music Award for Best Traditional Recording. Because of Kevin’s ability to listen and learn, his friends say, a part of culture that was nearly lost will now be documented forever.

“So future generations will still have access to that knowledge because he was able to hold it as a human in his body but now there’s a record of it that wouldn’t have existed,” said Eliza Blue, who worked with Kevin on various projects and hosted him on her public access show “Wish You Were Here”

Ohiyesa says his father learned to play the flute by spending time with elders and practicing in his office. He says he learned to hoop dance in a series of dreams that came to him after his friend passed away.

“He came to my dad in dreams and from these dreams my dad would get up and practice with these hoops and he would make designs. He got four dreams and four lessons after Arlo passed away and that’s how he learned how to hoop dance,” said Ohiyesa.

Throughout his life there is a common thread. He was always giving of himself and sharing his culture to students of all backgrounds. In his own words *clip from historical society* “I’m not trying to indoctrinate or trying to convert them to a specific culture but just to create an awareness that we all have something valuable and valid to contribute towards a common future, towards an emerging global civilization that they will all be a part of.” He will be remembered as a loving father, grandfather and friend, and also as an unwavering warrior of peace and unity.

Funeral Services for Kevin Locke are to be held at Eagles Landing Lodge in Custer, South Dakota on Friday.