Harriet Brings

 

The name that was given to Harriet Ann Brings at birth is Out’han Waste’ Win (Generous Woman/Woman Who Loves to Share) by her mother who also had the same name, but decided to share it with her. Her mother’s name is Celeste Clown Horse/Brings, a descendent of Ben Clown Horse, one of the sons of Young Man Afraid of his Horse, who had five other sons. Harriet’s father is Owen Brings, who comes from the Ite Sica Band. He served in World War II, came home with a purple heart after the war, and died young due to the complications of the war. He was one of the Lakota Code Talkers in World War II and told stories of the men he talked to over the radio in the Lakota Language. Harriet has two children, Ailine Maea and Eric Gonzalez, and one grandson, Gavin Gonzalez.

Harriet is originally from the Pine Ridge reservation, where she was taught to live the traditional way of life with her family and the community. She is a fluent Lakota speaker due to the influence of her tiospaye (family). It is this same family, that introduced her the Lakota way of life, the values and virtues, the ceremonies and how to participate in them. Harriet is working on bringing back the Becoming a Woman Ceremony--Isna Yanka Alowanpi to Rapid City. Young girls will be able to go through the ceremony and have direction in their journey towards womanhood.

Harriet completed her bachelor’s degree at Oglala Lakota College. She then started working for Title VII and began teaching at North Middle School, where she set up the Lakota Language Curriculum. She later accepted a position with Central High School and continued to work on the curriculum there, totally immersed in reviving the Lakota Language. Harriet currently lives in Rapid City teaching Lakota Language I & II and Native American Heritage. She will be graduating with her master’s degree from Oglala Lakota College in June 2018. Harriet also serves on a few boards in Rapid City and is an ambassador for MOA.

“I have lived in Rapid City since 1985 and I always believed that things can change and I wanted to be part of that team to help break the barriers. I am a member of MOA and I have seen every one of the members come into the circle with something, for all the others to learn from in a good way--working for positive changes between the native and non-native people. I have said that throughout the He’ Sapa, things are moving in a mysterious way. People are gathering together to make changes and I am a part of all of them and I will continue to take this stance for the Lakota Oyate.”