Augsburg News

News Archives - 2003

Lakota hoop dancer Kevin Locke to perform at Augsburg College

Jan. 20, 2003

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Augsburg College’s American Indian Student Services Program, Kevin Locke, a Lakota hoop dancer, inspirational speaker and flautist will be on campus Thursday, January 23. He will spend the day with students and finish up with a two-hour concert in the evening. The concert, 7-9 p.m. Hoversten Chapel, is free and open to the public.

Locke is renowned for the hoop dance as well as for the flute. Originally from South Dakota, raised on the Standing Rock Reservation, he has traveled to 71 countries in the course of his career.

In the hoop dance, which is a tradition among the Plain Indians and a celebration of the annual rebirth of nature, Locke has learned to intertwine and balance as many as 28 hoops (four colors which represent the four seasons) in spherical orbits for several minutes. Each of the 28 hoops represents a day in the lunar cycle. The hoops are symbolic of the "great hoop of life, where the sky meets the earth, and all of the hoops that exist within that sphere."

Locke began playing the flute in his mid 20s. To the Lakota/Dakota Nations, the flute "gives voice to the beauty of the land and is the sound of the wind as it rustles the grasses and leaves, scales the buttes and mountains, skims the surface of the lakes and streams."  The Lakota flute voices seven notes, four represent the directions, one represents the heavens, another the Earth and the seventh note the place where the six come together. Locke performs with many handmade cedar wood flutes, including a rare instrument made nearly a hundred years ago by Poweshiek of the Mesquaki Nation.

Locke holds two Master of Arts degrees in education administration and community education from the University of South Dakota. In 1990, Locke became one of the youngest members to receive the nation’s highest traditional arts recognition, the National Heritage Award.