Award-winning author and illustrator S.D. Nelson visits RCIS

posted on December 3, 2012
by Christopher Ives

In April, Walking the Earth & Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School was published. The book, containing a forward by award-winning author Joseph Marshall, has since won Honorable Mention by the American Folklore Society, and was placed on New York Public Library’s “100 Books for Reading and Sharing” list.

On Friday, November 30th, the illustrator of the book, award-winning author and artist, S.D. Nelson visited the students at Red Cloud Indian School. He spoke with students, faculty and staff in Eben Hall about Lakota story telling and art. He also read his new children's book, Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way and presented the school with a copy of a limited edition print, before touring the campus.

S. D. Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in Art at Minnesota State University at Moorhead. His artwork includes paintings on animal skins and bone, traditional rawhide drums, and beaded leather.

Nelson’s work has appeared on everything from greeting cards to CD covers, and his paintings are held in public collections around the country. In addition to his stand-alone artwork, he has written and illustrated numerous award-winning children’s books, including: The Star People, Gift Horse, and Buffalo Bird Girl.

“My mother… taught me at an early age to see the world with both the curious eyes of a child and the wistful eyes of an old man,” tells S.D. Nelson on his website.

“[She] told me traditional stories about Coyote, the Trickster and Iktomi, the Spider. I learned that the stars were the spirits of my ancestors, that my great-great grandfather, Flying Cloud, still rode his snorting horse along the White Road of the Milky Way. I have not forgotten those long ago teachings... ‘Walk with your vision in your heart’… In turn, I became a painter and a teller of stories."

S. D. Nelson has appeared at numerous book festivals, and has presented at schools and universities across the United States. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of the Dakotas. More information can be found on his website. Photos from the presentation can be found HERE.