Heritage Fellow Mary Louise Defender Wilson Virtual Residency

Local Learning’s virtual residencies with National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows take us into the communities and lives of master folk artists.
None required.

The Local Learning National Heritage Fellows Curricula are supported in part with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. | All portraits courtesy Alan Govenar, director of Documentary Arts, unless otherwise noted.

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.