Wisdom of the Elder - Clarence Rockboy
Ihaηktoηwaη (Yankton Sioux)
April 22, 1933 - December 24, 2006
Clarence Homer Rockboy passed into the Spirit World in the early morning hours on December 24, 2006. Born at home on April 22, 1933 at Dixon, South Dakota to Eliza Little Bird Rockboy and Joseph Rockboy. While attending Winner High School in Winner, South Dakota Clarence made the All State Basket Ball Team. He was one of three of the first Native Americans to attend The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Clarence served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War while transporting military supplies from the Mainland to Korea. After wartime he played football for the Air Force team that took him all over the world.
Clarence spent the past 26 years with his lifetime companion Charon Asetoyer-Rockboy in Lake Andes, South Dakota. Clarence and Charon raised two sons Chaske Joseph Rockboy and Reynolds James Bruguier.
Clarence is a Master of the Art of Traditional Native American beadwork. His work has been shown in Museums and shows in South Dakota, New York City, Chicago, California, the South West, and Europe. Some of Clarence’s pieces are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. He has received numerous accolades for his work including the South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award in 1994 for highest honors and excellence in Native American Art Leadership over a lifetime from the Northern Plains Tribal Arts.
His legacy will live on throughout the generations to come. Clarence spent his life teaching and mentoring countless young people in the art of beadwork. Clarence is best known for making instruments used in the Native American Church.
Clarence is a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and worked for the sovereignty of all Native Peoples. Clarence served on many Boards and committees throughout his life including the Ihanktowan Game Fish and Wildlife Committee and the Ihanktowan Water Rights Committee for the Yankton Sioux Tribe and was respected as a Water Rights Expert; he also served as Treasurer of the Native American Church of North America.
After returning to Lake Andes in 1985 with his family, wife Charon and Clarence, Everdale Song Hawk, Jackie Rouse, and Lorenzo Dion realized the need to assist the community in addressing some of the unmet needs, especially in the area of health education and cultural preservation. Together they started the Native American Community Board which is the parent organization to the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center and the Women’s Lodge. Clarence spent many hours working with the Child Development Program and later the Dakota Language Immersion Program. Clarence developed Dakota Language materials to assist in the preservation of the Dakota language.
Those who have preceded Clarence in death, Mother Eliza Little Bird Rockboy, Father Joseph Rockboy, Grandfather George Rockboy, Great Grandfather Mosquito, Great Great Grandfather Kills Omaha.