It is with a heavy hearts that the NDN Collective offers our sympathies to the family and loved ones of Lakota matriarch Marie Randall Brushbreaker, Oyate Akitapi Win (Lakota Translation: Nation Woman), who passed away on September 18. Marie was 101 years old. In addition to holding a very special role as “Unci” or “Grandma” to many relations across Oceti Sakowin territory, Marie Randall Brushbreaker was also a beloved movement leader and Land Defender.
Unci Marie’s life’s work is emblematic of a long legacy of Indigenous kinship, land defense, and protection of Tribal sovereignty. In 2012, as Marie stood before trucks with pipeline segments bound for the Keystone XL pipeline, preventing them from crossing into Tribal land, Marie proclaimed, “You’re all Lakotas. Stand up for your rights… This is our land. This is our Nation.”
In honor of Marie and her commitment to defending and protecting Lakota lands and lifeways, the NDN Collective shares the following statements:
“Unci Marie Randall was a powerful matriarch who stood up for Mother Earth. Her wisdom evoked action and reminded us that we all have a responsibility to make a stand. Her loving and unwavering support of the next generation has given us the courage to continue to fight for our land, water, air, our culture and our rights as a people. She was a bridge between generations and her loss is felt throughout the entire Lakota Nation and beyond. Her legacy will live on for generations to come. We will work hard to embody her teachings, her courage and her desire to make a better way for our people and our lands.” — Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO
“What I learned from Grandma Marie is that Wolakota [living a Lakota way of life] is an action. She lived what she taught– be kind to others and ourselves, as that gives us the courage and power to build a Lakota community that uplifts all. Living Wolakota is an act of love.” — Andrew Catt-Iron Shell, NDN Collective Organizer