LaDonna Brave Bull Allard was an American historian and activist. She was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She worked as a historian and genealogist, which is someone who studies family histories.
Allard was born on June 8, 1956, in Fort Yates, North Dakota. Her parents were Valerie Lovejoy Brave Bull and Frank Brave Bull.
Allard spent much of her childhood living with her grandmothers and moved to North Dakota, South Dakota, California, and New England. She moved back to North Dakota again. She decided to go to college. She attended community college before earning her degree from the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks in 1990. She also married Miles D. Allard in 1990. The couple met in college.
Keeping History Safe
Allard went to work for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She helped preserve the tribe’s culture. She later worked as a historian and genealogist for the tribe. She helped the tribe keep its history safe. She learned a great deal about her history and native history in this job. She learned about the 1863 massacre, or killing, at Whitestone Hill. The U.S. Army killed hundreds of Sioux at Whitestone Hill. Many were women and children. Allard’s own family member was shot there.
Trying to Stop the Pipeline
Allard cared a lot about her tribe’s history and land. She wanted the land to be treated with respect. One of her sons was buried on the land close to Allard’s home. The tribe learned that oil companies wanted to build an oil pipeline right beside the tribe’s land. The pipeline would carry oil. The tribe realized that any leak in the pipeline would contaminate their land and water. The building of the pipeline would also destroy important native sites.
Allard wanted to protest the pipeline. She hoped that if enough people protested, the company wouldn’t build it. She donated her land to make a camp. She and other people in her tribe started staying at the camp. People brought food and other supplies. The gathering grew larger and larger. People from all around the world came to the camp. All the protesters wanted to stop the building of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The people building the pipeline did not care about the protest or native lands. They wanted to remove the protesters from the area so they could start building. In 2016 President Barack Obama stopped the building of the pipeline because of the protests. In 2017 Donald Trump became president. He let the company start building. The police used dogs, pepper spray, and water to move the protesters who blocked the workers. Many protesters were hurt even though they were not violent.
An Important Leader
Allard was a leader of the protesters. She wrote articles and went on television. She talked about why the protesters cared about the land. She told people that the land and water were sacred to her people. Even though Allard and other protesters worked hard to protect the land, the pipeline was built. The company finished building it in 2017.
Allard continued to represent her tribe. She talked to the United Nations about the pipeline and many other issues. She taught people about her tribe’s culture and history. She was an important representative of her community.
Allard died on April 10, 2021, in her home in North Dakota because of cancer.