Tatewin Means

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Tatewin Means

Tatewin Means is a South Dakota activist. She is an Indigenous woman from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, Oglala Lakota and Inhanktonwan nations in South Dakota. Tatewin has two children, Mankato and Persayah, and currently lives in Rapid City, SD.


Ms. Means grew up in Kyle, SD on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and later moved to Rapid City, SD where she graduated from Rapid City Central High School. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. After returning to her home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Tatewin worked for Oglala Lakota College as the Environmental Lab Manager for the Lakota Institute for Science and Technology. During this time, she began the graduate program at Oglala Lakota College in Lakota Leadership and Management. Tatewin then went to law school and received her JD with a concentration in Human Rights Law from the University of Minnesota Law School. She then returned home once again and completed her Masters of Arts degree in Lakota Leadership and Management from Oglala Lakota College.

A longtime advocate for human rights, survivors, children, and families, Tatewin Means served as the Attorney General for the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from 2012-2017. In the past year, Tatewin was the Graduate Studies Department Chair at Oglala Lakota College.

In 2015, Means was sworn in as the Deputy States Attorney for Oglala Lakota County, a state county within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation boundaries, to prosecute non-Indian offenders for victimless and wholly non-Indian offenses committed on the reservation. This inter-jurisdiction agreement is the first-of-its-kind collaboration between Tribal and State sovereigns—it protects victims of all crimes regardless of the racial status of the offender while also strengthening the Tribe’s sovereignty.

She also served as a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2015 where she strengthened her leadership skills and bolstered a strong network of cross-sectional leaders.

During her time of service, she worked to bring people together to help take on many of the challenges that affect South Dakotans in every community. She worked to reform the criminal justice system that criminalizes addiction instead of treating it and denies young offenders the tools needed to find a better path. She served on the State’s Jolene’s Law Task Force with the goal to eradicate child sexual abuse in South Dakota. She also served on the State’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative’s Native American focus group aimed at reducing the overrepresentation of American Indian youth in the State’s criminal justice system.

Always an advocate for survivor and children’s rights, Means’ provided testimony on behalf of the Oglala Sioux Tribe numerous times at Tribal-Federal consultations in an effort to provide federal partners with accurate data and innovative suggestions for an improved collaborative relationship.[1]

Attorney General run

In 2018 Tatewin Means ran for South Dakota Attorney General.

My name is Tatewin Means—and I am running for Attorney General.
My full name is Tatuye Topa Najin Win. I am Sisitonwan Dakota, Oglala Lakota, and Ihanktonwan Nakota. My mother is Peggy Phelps, she is Sisitonwan Dakota. My father is the late Russell Means, he is Oglala Lakota, and Ihanktonwan Nakota.

Kooper Caraway connection


2018: Happy to show up to support our sister Tatewin Means, daughter of Russell Means and future South Dakota Attorney General

Kooper Caraway endorsement

Brothers, Sisters, and Relatives.

For decades, the working people of South Dakota have been exploited and taken advantage of by a small minority of the most elite political and business interests. While corrupt leaders line their pockets off of the backs of hard working South Dakotans, our families are expected to work multiple jobs for little pay.

This has been the reality for thousands of working families. And it will take all of us to change that reality.

Working families need a champion in Pierre. Working South Dakotans deserve a Fighter who will work for ALL of us, not just the privileged few.

That is why the AFL-CIO, the organized working class of South Dakota, strongly endorse Our Sister Tatewin Means for Attorney General.

We invite all who are able, to join us in building a broad based People’s Coalition to change the culture in Pierre and the lives of working families across our state.


In Solidarity

Kooper Caraway

President Sioux Falls AFL-CIO, Facebook post, 2018.06.07.[2]