Wolf Point Herald

Russell Red Elk


Russell H. Red Elk, 63, died Oct. 4, 2013, at his sister’s home in Wolf Point.

He was born March 1, 1950, in Seattle, Wash., to  Josephine C. DeMarce and James H. Red Elk.

He married, and later divorced, Violet Cook of Fort Thompson, S.D. They had a daughter, Celeste.

He attended grade school in Poplar and graduated from Choate Preparatory School in Wallingford, Conn., June 7, 1969. He earned an AB in anthropology from Stanford University in California April 4, 1974, and an AM in anthropology from Stanford, June 16, 1991. He also attended Yale University’s School of Management and focused on public management as well as organizational behavior. 

He cherished the traditional spirituality of the Dakota/Lakota nation. He had a profound knowledge of his language, culture and Lakota cultural heroes. He was proud to say he was a descendant of the Mnisida (Chelsea) Ihanktowan/Hunkpapa community.

His love for mathematics led him to teach math at the high school and college levels at Standing Rock Community College in North Dakota and Fort Peck Community College in Poplar. In his last years, he tutored many community college students.

In his position as a Fort Peck Tribes’ cultural resources consultant, he wrote grants and traveled extensively for the return of cultural items under the Repatriation Act. He was a co-editor of the Red Tipi Literary Project, a booklet for counselors funded by the Fort Peck Tribes.

He had classmates and friends from all over the country who valued his friendship. He was on the undefeated Choate basketball team of 1968-69 and was invited to the Choate

reunion of the team. He also enjoyed javelin, discus and the high jump.

His joy in life was communicating with his people. He loved sharing stories and could speak to all people at all levels. He understood his illness and his prayer for all tribal people is to understand historical trauma, know we have a sacred spirit, treat each other kindly and pray thankful prayers.

He is survived by his daughter, Celeste; sisters, Lois Red Elk Reed, Iris Red Elk Allrunner and Elaine Red Elk Summers; and one grandson.

A wake was held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Wolf Point Community Hall. The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Wolf Point Community Hall. Interment will be the Chelsea Cemetery. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel of Wolf Point was entrusted with the arrangements.