By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Correspondent
PINE RIDGE –– After 41 years of service to the citizens and “potential” citizens of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Joan Decker, the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s longtime Director of Enrollment was honored last week for her dedicated service to the people of the Oglala Lakota Nation..
According to her daughter Ellen Fills the Pipe, Joan, began working at the enrollment office in the mid 1960’s and took a short break from the office to attend college in 1968. After marrying Edwin Fills the Pipe in California, Joan, moved back to the reservation in 1972. After working for Red Cloud Indian School she began her career as the Director of OST’s Enrollment Office, a position she has held ever since minus two short stints hiatuses in 1982 and from 1994-1996 during which time she served on the OST Tribal Council.
In a Facebook post her daughter Ellen described her mother’s service to the tribe.
“She has dedicated her life to serving the people of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, to protecting our records, to helping the people find their roots. She was recently recognized by her peers in the tribal enrollment field for her vast knowledge & wisdom. She is a living treasure for our tribe,” said Ellen.
Former Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent Robert Ecoffey, who worked with Joan for more than 20 years, said that Joan’s dedication to her work was commendable.
“She was always very dedicated and passionate about her job and because of this many tribal members who deserved to be enrolled were given that opportunity. The honoring of her service is very well deserved,” said Ecoffey.
Copyright permission Native Sun News