Caroline Lou Ann Blackthunder, Mahpiya Bogaga Win was born on January 31, 1949 to Alfred Hayes and Annie Johnson in Long Hollow, South Dakota. She started her journey to the spirit world on April 26, 2023 in Fargo, North Dakota. Caroline attended Wahpeton Indian School in her early years. Caroline met and married the love of her life, Laverne Blackthunder Sr. Of these union were born four children: Craig Blackthunder, Laverne Blackthunder Jr., Algin Blackthunder, and Vernadine Blackthunder. Caroline was a quiet, humble and modest Dakota winyan. She had such a way about her that one would feel comforted in her presence. She had eyes that smiled and she like to joke in her own way. Sher loved and cherished her children and grandchildren. She loved spending time with them.
Caroline Dakota wicohan kin nina tehinda. Caroline loved and cherished the Dakota way of life. She was a believer of our Dakota Spirituality and was a sundancer. During her life she worked at Tiospa Zina Tribal School, the Dakota Nation Enterprise entities and the local women’s shelter. Her last employer was the Dakota Pride Treatment Center where she worked for many years serving her people before retirement.
Caroline devoted a lot of her time and energy in helping with the preservation and revitalization of the Dakota iapi. She was a fluent Dakota language speaker who had such an impact on the community and those who she helped along the way in their language learning journey. she regularly participated in recordings to preserve the Dakota iapi. Over the years she contributed oral history and Dakota knowledge to the Dakota Language Institute and our local tribal schools by sharing stories and history in the Dakota language. She is such and invaluable treasure to our Dakota people and will always be remembered for her love and work she did to help the Dakota Language live.
Caroline will be dearly missed by her tiwahe and all who cherished her.
She is preceded in death by her parents: Alfred and Annie Johnson-Hayes; brothers: Floyd Hayes, Andrew Hayes, Archie Hayes, Ernest Hayes and Joseph Hayes; and a sister: Florestine Hayes.
She is survived by her children and grandchildren. Her sons: Craig Blackthunder, Laverne Blackthunder, Algin Blackthunder; daughter: Vernadine Blackthunder; and her grandchildren: Owemaza Owen, Kylie Owen, Solace Owen, Aliza Owen, Adrienne Owen, Laverne Owen, Allan Owen Jr., Julie Blackthunder, Aryana Blackthunder and Lyric Blackthunder.