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1957-Jan. 16, 2015
Oglala Lakota spiritual leader Wilmer
Mesteth died unexpectedly at midnight on Jan. 16.
He will be remembered as a man who was
as generous with his time and spiritual teachings. Mesteth served his
people in every possible way. Those who are mourning his passing are
remembering his guidance, direction and leadership.
According to his daughter Rachel,
Mesteth underwent surgery for a double hernia on Jan. 8 and was
recovering at the Prairie Winds Hotel in Pine Ridge, S.D.. In the
afternoon, he was visiting with his adopted brothers when he called
his wife with concerns that he was having a heart attack.
Mesteth lived in the Cheyenne Creek
community and was married to Lisa Mesteth. He taught at Oglala Lakota
College for over 20 years, where he was a cultural instructor. He
taught traditional songs, dance, traditional herbs and foods,
language and history. OLC student Lilly Jones said about Mesteth, “He
treated everyone the same. Whether it was a Hollywood film crew or a
student, he was always so respectful and humble.”
Mesteth also participated in the Big
Foot Rides and the Crazy Horse Rides, and supported the Northern
Cheyenne Fort Robinson Run.
Survivors include his wife Lisa
Standing Elk-Mesteth and children Juan Mesteth, Lonnie Mesteth,
Ronnie Mesteth, Hoksila Mesteth, Dakota Mesteth and Rachel Mesteth,
all of Pine Ridge, S.D.; brothers Gilbert Mesteth and Phil Iron Cloud
of Pine Ridge and Phillip Mesteth of Ethete, Wyo.; sisters Mary Ann
Mesteth-Witt, Lynette Mesteth-Murray of Parmelee, S.D., Ruth
Mesteth-Gray Horse and Letitia American Horse of Ethete, Wyo., Dennis
Mesteth-Spoon Hunter of Fayetteville, N.C. Wilmer had 19
grandchildren. Numerous hunka children, brothers and sisters.
Wilmer was preceded in death by his
parents Gabriel Mesteth, Sr., Rosalyn Red Shirt-Mesteth and his
siblings Daniel Mesteth, Gabriel Mesteth, Jr., Orlin Mesteth and
Two night wake services were held on
Jan. 21 at the Lakota Dome, Prairie Wind Casino, Pine Ridge, S.D.,
and Jan. 22 at the Mesteth family residence, Cheyenne Creek, S.D..
The funeral was held at Jan. 23 at the Mesteth family residence.
Arrangements were handled by the Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge.