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Oglala Lakota College Receives Research Collection from University of Louisville

Ron Corum

The University of Louisville Kentucky is sharing a collection of Lakota songs, stories, and photos with the Oglala Lakota College on Pine Ridge Reservation. 40 years ago a Louisville research student visited the reservation. He became close friends with a tribe leader who allowed him to document previously unrecorded traditions. 

The Oglala Lakota College received digital copies of Lakota written stories and documents they’re seeing for the first time. Louisville research student Ron Corum visited the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations in the 1970’s. Two years ago he gave his research to the University of Louisville who digitized the research to share with the Lakota community.

Sarah-Jane Poindexter is archivist of manuscripts at the University of Louisville. She says Corum’s close friendship with tribe leader Edgar Red Cloud allowed him access to record oral histories, interviews, and audio recording of the people he stayed with on the reservation.

“It was through Red Cloud that Dr. Corum was able to earn more trust and friendships. The collection really does reflect their close relationship. There are many photos of Mr. Red Cloud as well as many recordings. In fact Edgar Red Cloud was the great grandson of Chief Red Cloud. And he was special keeper of special prayers and songs of Chief Red Cloud that have been passed on in oral tradition. And he allowed Dr. Corum to record those for the first time ever so that there is now documentation of those prayers and songs. Mr. Red Cloud is now deceased so it’s wonderful to be able to have these materials to be able to share with the next generation” says Poindexter.

Poindexter says she now hopes the documents can be used for research and language studies by students and faculty members.

“Immediately these materials will be able to be put to use with continued learning. The collection also contains great information the Red Cloud family genealogy and history, so I think on many levels it will be more accessible on the reservation there as well as greater use,” says Poindexter.

Sections of the research are available for students at Oglala Lakota College and at the University of Louisville.