Rosalie Little Thunder

Member of the Board - In Memoriam

Sicangu Lakota

Rosalie Little Thunder (Kicikute Cokanun Win), a Lakota activist who worked to stop the slaughter of bison in Yellowstone National Park, died in 2014. She was a former member of the board of First Nations Development Institute.

At the time of her passing, Rosalie was an adjunct professor at Black Hills State University American Indian Studies Department, where she taught the Lakota language for many years.

Rosalie was a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She founded Buffalo Nations, which later became the Buffalo Field Campaign, after seeing the slaughter of the bison first-hand in 1997. Her efforts led to international attention to the slaughter, which occurs when the bison leave park boundaries and cross into Montana. The outcry prompted the federal government to develop new policies for dealing with the last wild, free-ranging herd of bison in the U.S.

Despite her advocacy, officials in Montana still allowed bison to be killed out of fear they would transmit a deadly disease to cattle. Tribes that tried to secure some of the animals were temporarily stopped by a lawsuit until the state’s highest court sanctioned the transfers.