Mary Louise Defender Wilson, NEA National Heritage Fellow, 1999
Master Storyteller and Tradition Keeper


You know, I always used to marvel at my Dakotah grandfather and how he knew so much. I think that the reason he understood so many things in such complex ways was because the stories he heard taught him to think deeply about things.

                                                                                           -Mary Louise Defender Wilson

Mary Louise Defender Wilson is a master storyteller and keeper of tribal language, history, and culture. She is a generous teacher who has shared her knowledge and stories with many people. Learning about her life on the Standing Rock Reservation introduces a vibrant woman and important ideas about how language and landscape are vital to culture.