Executive Director | Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

If asked for one word to describe the mission of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC), Executive Director Tatewin Means says: “liberation. For far too long the Lakota people have been subject to colonial forces that have attacked this community from every angle, leading to the weakening of our self-determination, health, and culture.” She adds, “Our vision as an organization is liberation for the Lakota people through language, lifeways, and spirituality.”

Guided by the needs and ideas of the community, this Indigenous grassroots organization, based in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, takes a holistic approach to its equity and community development work.

Means served as the attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from 2012 to 2017. In 2015, she was sworn in as the deputy state’s attorney for Oglala Lakota County through a first-of-its-kind inter-jurisdiction agreement between tribal and state sovereigns to protect victims of crimes regardless of the racial status of the offender, while strengthening tribal sovereignty. In 2018, Means sought the Democratic nomination for the South Dakota attorney general, becoming the first Indigenous woman in United States history to run for a state attorney general seat.

Means is from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, Oglala Lakota, and Inhanktonwan nations in South Dakota and grew up in the Oglala homelands. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University, a JD with a concentration in human rights law from the University of Minnesota Law School, and her Master of Arts degree in Lakota leadership and management from Oglala Lakota College.

About Thunder Valley CDC 
Thunder Valley CDC is a holistic organization that works for the collective healing and liberation of the Lakota people. Rooted in Lakota ways — a state of being where balance is restored and both the individual and the collective are sovereign, self-determined, and self-sufficient — Thunder Valley works in partnership with the wider Lakota community, focusing on eight initiatives addressing Lakota life. These eight interconnected program areas combine with Thunder Valley’s lifeways and wellness-equity work to make up a unique, “whole community” approach to healing and liberation.

Learn more about Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation here.