Patricia Ann Locke
Patricia Ann locke
January 21, 1928
|Died||October 20, 2001(aged 73)|
|Nationality||United States, Lakota, and Chippewa|
|Other names||Tawacin WasteWin (Compassionate Woman)|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Occupation||Educator and Leader for Native American Religion|
Patricia A. Locke (Tawacin WasteWin) (January 21, 1928 – October 20, 2001) was a Native American educator-activist and converted to the Bahá'í Faith during a trip to South America. She was elected as the first Native American woman to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. In 1991 she was a MacArthur Fellow, represented the US National Bahá'í community in Beijing at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and she was honored with the Indigenous Language Institute's Those Who Make a Difference award in 2001 just before her death. Posthumously she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2006, and in 2014 was a National Race Amity Conference honoree of a Race Amity Medal of Honor and the Google Cultural Institute included her in its listing Showcasing Great Women. Her son is renowned hoop dancer, flute player, and storyteller Kevin Locke.
Registered as Patricia Ann McGillis, daughter of John and Eva (Flying Earth) McGillis was born January 21, 1928, Locke was raised on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation as a Standing Rock Sioux, Hunkpapa band also known as Lakota, and Mississippi Band of White Earth Chippewa. Her father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and enlisted during World War I after appealed the rejection because at the time Indians weren't considered citizens elligble for service. Her Lakota name Tawacin WasteWin means "She has a good consciousness, a compassionate woman."
In 1935 Locke participated in a demonstration of Lakota culture in dance and story telling at a local junior high school with her father and mother. Locke graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1951. She was married to Charles E. Locke from 1952 to 1975; their son is Kevin Locke and daughter Winona Flying Earth. She taught at University of California, Los Angeles, San Francisco State University, Alaska Methodist University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Southern Maine, to name a few. In 1969 she offered an oral history which is held at the Library of Congress. In 1970 she spoke out that Indians need to be the priority in solving social problems among Indians. She saw to it her son Kevin was taught his heritage and sent him to the Institute of American Indian Arts for high school. In 1975 she was the keynote speaker to the Native American Teacher Training Program with a topic "Competency-Based Native American Education". She spoke out against federal government regulations affecting Indian governments in 1978, supporting the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and was appointed to the Interior Department Task Force on Indian Education Policy in 1979. Over time she also helped 17 tribes to establish Indian colleges.
In August 1988 she joined her son on the Trail of Light expedition of Native American Bahá'ís traveling to South America. Soon she lived on the Standing Rock Reservation and was a Bahá'í for the last 10 years of her life. During her time at Standing Rock she contributed a series of articles to a local newspaper describing Lakota life, ideals, and instances of feeling injustice the editor hoped would build bridges of understanding with the area's non-indigenous population. In 1989 Locke interviewed Jacqueline Left Hand Bull for the newspaper about her view of the relationship of the Bahá'í Faith and Lakota belief especially in regards to the White Buffalo Woman - "When she said she'd return, it was a promise. Some of us believe that the promise has been fulfilled." and Locke was particularly struck that, in Bahá'u'lláh's foundational experience, there was a vision of "a woman ... dressed in white". She was the first Native Indian woman to serve on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and, up to her time, held the highest office of any Indian to serve. The same year she also co-authored a paper "The Effects of Testing on Native Americans" for the National Commission on Testing and Public Policy.
During that 1993 Parliament of Religions she was among those who, as part of the Native delegation and speaking as a Bahá'í delegate along with then Continental Counsellor Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, attempted to have a resolution adopted by the Parliament named "American Indian Declaration of Vision 1993" which said in part:
One hundred years ago, during the 1893 Parliament of World Religions, the profoundly religious Original Peoples of the Western Hemisphere were not invited. We are still here and still struggling to be heard for the sake of our Mother Earth and our children. Our spiritual and physical survival continues to be threatened all over the hemisphere, we feel compelled to ask you to join us in restoring the balances of humanity and Mother Earth in these ways:
- Acknowledgement of the myriad of messengers of the Creator, the Great Mystery, to the peoples of the Western Hemisphere.
- Support in promoting, preserving and maintaining our Indigenous languages and cultures.
The resolution was initially adopted by a near-unanimous vote by the delegates yet was ultimately nullified by the Chair of the Council Parliament, who overruled the vote because of a conflict over the Inter caetera Bull and the basic roll of the Parliament to discuss rather than take action.
In 1994 she returned in support of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in its later revision. In 1995 Locke served as chair of the Indigenous Women's Caucus at Fourth World Conference on Women, and represented the US National Bahá'í community, in Beijing. In earlier 2001 she was invited to deliver a lecture at the University of Maryland - hers was entitled "Indigenous Women's Perspectives on Unity".
Locke died while in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 20, 2001, of heart-failure and was buried in nearby Paradise Valley, Arizona. Her grandson, Anpao Duta Flying Earth, continues her work in indigenous language revitalization efforts and service to the community of Native Americans.
Jacqueline Left Hand Bull said of her: "... Tawacin Wastewin chose to follow a life path of service to her people, who at first were American Indians, grew to include all indigenous people, and by the end of her remarkable life, had grown to include all of her human family. ... In both personal matters and through interaction with the world around her, she began to tread a path that insisted upon justice. To obtain justice, she understood that power was needed, and soon it became clear that true power is spiritual, not material. ..."
In 2011 John Kolstoe published a biography Compassionate Woman: The Life and Legacy of Patricia Locke.