GREGORY HOLDER’s ethnic lineage and heritage comes from three nations: Sicungu Lakota, Wichita, and French. He was born in Lawton, Oklahoma and raised by his mother’s family in South Dakota. He is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe but grew-up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation up to his early teens; eventually, moving to Rapid City, South Dakota. Though living in Rapid City, he would still make trips back to the reservations to retain the teachings from his grandmothers and grandfathers on his Lakota culture, people, and spiritual values.
During the summer of 2007, Gregory was a student for the Place and Native Voice program and served as an Interpretative Park Ranger at Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming. Though the name Devils Tower is recognized by western society, this place is still known to his ancestral Lakota people as Bear’s Lodge. While working as a Park Ranger, he taught many visitors the spiritual aspects and values of the area as well as the geological attributes of how western science describes their creation of the rock formation.
Gregory had the opportunity to visit his family in Pine Ridge and Rosebud, South Dakota and gain more insight and knowledge of Bear’s Lodge and its interconnection to the universe.
The one value that Gregory emphasized about Bear’s Lodge/Devils Tower is that many nomadic plains tribes all shared (2) two common ideological and practical images: the bear and the lodge or teepee. This concept was recognized by many tribes who had a resourceful, physical, and spiritual connection to the area as well as the affiliation to the nearby Black Hills of South Dakota. In many tribal languages that shared their relationship to the area, a similar identification pattern behind the name is witness to the (2) two common images.
Today, Gregory still maintains his Lakota culture through ceremonies and Native American events. And every summer, he takes trips back to South Dakota and continues to learn his cultural connection and spiritual way of life. For the knowledge he gains, he will teach others; and for the survival of his culture, he will pass his knowledge to his next generation.