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In Memorium: Kevin Locke

On Friday September 30, 2022, South Dakota lost one of our greats. Kevin Locke, Tȟokéya Inážiŋ, ("The First to Arise") was a preeminent player of the Native American flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator. He was one of the first artists to join the South Dakota Arts Council’s fledgling touring artists program, and in addition to touring nationally and internationally, he visited every corner of our state over the last 40 years.

He was perhaps best-known for his hoop dance, The Hoop of Life, but more than an Internationally renowned hoop dancer, more than a leading reviver of the classical Native flute, Locke’s calling was to share a message of unity to the world. As he taught: When brought together in love, the various "hoops" that make up the peoples of the world create a “hoop of many hoops…There are no corners, no dark place, no back row…we are all there, shoulder to shoulder…we can not be excluded…”

As one friend wrote in memoriam, “We are honored by his honorable life.” He was a great man, and his light will continue to shine in the lives he touched, the teachings he passed down, and the kindness, joy, and love he brought to all he did.

-Eliza Blue, Host and Producer of SDPB's Wish You Were Here.
Kevin shared this beautiful story with us on an episode of Wish You Were Here last season.