Graveside services for 70-year old Monna “Sis” Patton are Sat, Jan 21, 2023 at 11:00 at the Herman Family Cemetery in the No Flesh community, 5 ½ miles southeast of Kyle, SD, on BIA Route 39 with Father Ed Witt, SJ, officiating and traditional Lakota services by Doug Patton Jr.
A meal will follow at Nunpa Theater.
Visitation will be Friday, Jan 20, from 4:30 – 6:00 at St Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Rapid City, SD, with a meal to be served at 6:00. Vigil services with Rosary will be at 7:00
Monna “Sis” Lynn Patton Iyoyanpa Waste Win was born in Pine Ridge, SD, to Paul Herman Sr and Pearl Herman (Bettelyoun) on June 24, 1952. She peacefully made her journey to the Spirit World on Jan 10, 2023 while receiving hospice care in Chandler, AZ.
Sis was the second-oldest of Paul and Pearl’s 9 children. They both called her “Sissy” and often shared that their Sissy was a miracle baby because of the series of events that unfolded that day while getting her from No Flesh to the Pine Ridge Hospital where she was delivered.
In her early childhood, Sis lived in No Flesh and attended Kyle Day School. When she was in 2nd grade, she transferred to Holy Rosary Mission School and remained there until she graduated from high school in 1971.
During her senior year, she met Wayne Patton and they married on August 30, 1971. Three months later, Sis gave birth to her daughter Angelena “Angel” Reddest, and a little more than 3 years after that she gave birth to her son, George Patton.
Although most will remember Sis as a successful business owner, she had a varied, prominent, and distinguished professional career. It began when she was 15-years old working for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Summer Youth Program in the old Tribal Office Building to assist with clerical duties and run errands for Tribal Council and Executive Board members.
For several months during her sophomore year in high school, Sis worked at the old Pine Ridge drive-in while she worked her junior year during the evening as a cashier at Sioux Nation Shopping Center.
After graduating high school, Sis began working part-time as a Health Assistant for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Maternal Health Program.
Her first-full time job was as a secretary for then- OST Chief of Police Francis Two Bulls. That was followed by working as a secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Employment Assistance Office. During that same time, Sis began taking classes at Oglala Lakota College.
After earning 36 credit hours from OLC, she transferred to Chadron State College. While a full-time student at CSC, Sis worked part-time as a Teacher Aide at Wolf Creek Elementary – all while also raising her two children, and several nieces and nephews.
Sis graduated from Chadron State in 1984 with a BA in both Sociology and Home Economics. Her mother Pearl was extremely proud of her and Sis was forever thankful for the encouragement and emotional support her mother provided so she could be the first in her family to receive a college degree.
Two years later, Sis received a double endorsement Teaching Certificate from Chadron State to teach 7-12 grade. She taught 6th grade at Wolf Creek Elementary for a short time, then became a Social Worker (Child Protection) for the State of South Dakota.
Sis held that post until she moved to Aberdeen, SD, to work as a Personnel Specialist for the Indian Health Service and as a secretary for BIA Indian Education.
After living in Aberdeen for one year, Sis returned to Pine Ridge, where she worked as a substitute teacher for Pine Ridge Middle School until she was hired to establish the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s WIC Program. She was the WIC Program’s first Director, then became a Social Worker (General Assistance) for the BIA.
After the death of her husband Wayne in 1991, Sis moved to Rapid City and worked out of her home for Yamni Southwest (under Shannon County) doing referrals for babies with disabilities. She then worked for Youth and Family Services as a Home Aide.
Wanting to continue to assist people but in a different capacity, Sis made the biggest decision in her life and returned to her childhood home in Kyle in 1992 to become an entrepreneur.
After months of planning and construction, Sis opened her first business venture, Angel’s on May 31, 1992, then incorporated it in 1996 as Lil’ Angel’s, Inc.
Sis proudly used her company to create jobs for Kyle community members, and she often donated money to the Medicine Root District Wacipi, the Kiyaksa Wacipi, and the Potato Creek Wacipi, as well as other Medicine Root District events and gatherings.
One of her most memorable and proud accomplishments as the owner of Lil’ Angel’s was when she built a sidewalk for her good friend, the late Louis One Horn, so he and other Kyle community members with physical disabilities could easily get to both her store and the IHS Kyle Health Center.
Several years later, Sis also worked closely with Little Wound School and several grassroots Kyle community members (most notably Juanita Scherich and Connie Whirlwind Horse) to build additional sidewalks to ensure exercise and safe walking for the Kyle community.
After several financial and banking institutions denied her loan requests to expand Lil’ Angel’s (which she firmly believed were acts of discrimination because she was an Oglala Lakota woman who operated a business on the Pine Ridge Reservation), Sis changed course again.
This time, she followed the footsteps of her beloved Grandpa Jake Herman into politics and in 1998 she was elected by members of the Medicine Root District to represent them on the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council.
As a Tribal Council member, Sis hoped to develop basic infrastructure and establish banks on the Reservation for tribal members and small businesses to use.
Instead, the demands of operating Lil’ Angel’s full-time and the numerous obligations and responsibilities of being on the Tribal Council led Sis to resign two years into her term.
Recognizing there were alternative ways to fund creation basic infrastructure and economic development, Sis and other business owners on the Reservation established the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sis also served several years as a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Empowerment Zone Task Force and was elected to the Oglala Lakota College Board of Trustees. As a trustee, she planted the seed with the OLC Administration to develop student housing complexes.
Sis also met numerous times with U-S Senator Tim Johnson, whom she proudly supported, to advocate for federal legislation to eliminate barriers for business owners on the Reservation to obtain business loans with banking and financial institutions.
Sis also deeply respected and admired the knowledge and wisdom of the late Birgil Kills Straight. She greatly enjoyed their many conversations on how to improve and strengthen their beloved Medicine Root District, which they both called”the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.”
Seeing that there were almost no entertainment venues on the Reservation, Sis (in partnership with her daughter Angel) sought financing to build a movie theater. They were routinely denied by local and national banks, but Sis was doggedly determined to fulfill her dream with Angel of building and owning a movie theater in Kyle.
Running out of business options, Sis (with the assistance of then Governor Mike Rounds) obtained a loan from the South Dakota Economic Development Corporation to finance the construction of Nunpa Theatre, which opened on November 2, 2012.
Sis sparkled with pride and joy as she observed families young and old, school children, and elderly couples enjoying movies in the safe, clean, positive, and healthy environment provided by the Nunpa Theatre.
Sis viewed and operated her businesses as community investments, employing community members and training them with professional skills while paying competitive wages and awarding holiday bonuses.
She was also proud of finding gas pumps that could be self-service, allowing 24/7 service to customers), and she continually upgraded and invested in improvements to her businesses.
Sis received recognition and numerous awards for her hard work and dedication to both of her businesses. They were featured on NPR’s Marketplace Show with Kai Ryssdal and MSNBC’s Velshi, a weekend morning show hosted by acclaimed media journalist Ali Velshi.
Sis, who was recovering from chemotherapy, was interviewed by Ali in December 2020 on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on her businesses. Sis had many highlights as a business owner, but that interview was probably her greatest highlight because she was a longtime admirer of his reporting on MSNBC.
Sis loved to travel when she was able to break away from her businesses, thus allowing her to relax and experience many parts of the world, and to try delicious foods. She also enjoyed taking her parents and other family members to Prairie Wind Casino and Deadwood as well as other gambling destinations such as Las Vegas, NV; Mystic Lake, MN; Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Montville, CT; and Biloxi, MS.
Due to her own life experiences, Sis valued and thought highly of individuals who took the personal initiative to become formally educated. She knew how much time, financial hardship, and personal sacrifice one must undergo to earn a college degree.
Like her dad Paul, Sis was an avid, daily reader of the newspaper. She enjoyed watching the news, especially Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, but she also enjoyed watching shows such as The View, The Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She also liked to have a good laugh watching Saturday Night Live.
Each summer throughout her entire life, Sis planted vegetable and flower gardens (which she learned from both her Grandpa Jake and parents Paul & Pearl) and enjoyed sharing the harvests with her family and friends.
Sis also had the special gift of remembering the birthdays of 100-plus family members, which included her grandparents, parents, brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Sis enjoyed life stories and visiting with her parents, Aunts Faith Lee and Hope Brewer, and Uncle Rex Herman about Herman family history. That interest culminated in her writing the life stories of her parents, Paul and Pearl.
Whether by herself or with family members, Sis enjoyed walking in the morning and evening, all while observing plants, birds, and wildlife along No Flesh Creek, and viewing the beautiful South Dakota sky.
Sis also loved to attend and celebrate events of her children, grandchildren, parents, sister, brothers, nieces, and nephews, such as birthday parties, graduations, weddings, concert and drama performances, athletic events, and other related school and professional functions.
Sis was known for having many unique personal characteristics and attributes, but she will be remembered most for her compassion, humility, kindness, resiliency, and hard work ethic – traits she learned as a little girl from her parents, Grandpa Jake Herman, and Aunt Hope Brewer, all of whom she looked up to with the utmost respect and loved dearly.
Sis often shared that she was her Grandpa Jake’s little tail because wherever he went, she was right behind him following along.
Some people can prop you up with a few words, a smile, a few reminders of who you are and what you’ve done, and encourage you toward what you might be, to strive toward what you wish to become. They carry the good energy, hope, and diffuse it outward wherever they go. Sis was all that for many.
Those who experienced life with her were blessed. Sis always placed the interest of others before her own, and those who were fortunate to be touched by her grace will forever cherish and be thankful for the wisdom, knowledge, and generosity she imparted.
Just like the strong, quality, and accessible structures Sis built for her businesses, her legacy and memory will endure for generations to come.
Sis was the beloved matriarch and caretaker of her Herman family, and she will be deeply missed by her two children, four grandchildren, sister, brothers, nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Sis is survived by daughter Angelena “Angel” and son-in law Cornell Reddest of Kyle, SD; son George and daughter-in-law Lirio Patton of Chandler, AZ; granddaughter Julia Reddest of Kyle; grandsons Nicholas “Nick” Reddest of Kyle, Cibrian Patton and Cielo Patton, both of Chandler; sister Ronda Herman; brothers Paul Herman Jr, Leo Herman Sr, Ronald (Lila) Herman, Anthony “Tony” (Linda) Herman, Robert “Joe” Herman, and Richard Herman Sr; nieces, Paulette Herman, Shaina Phelps, Dakota Rose Herman, Leah Dubray, Jenna Thunder Hawk, Salley Holley, Jessica Herman, April Abdelagabar, Tina Brewer, Lola Brewer, Melanie Brewer, Miranda Herman, Tonya Herman, Rachel High Horse, Nicole Herman, Kimberly Red Cloud, Monica Ganado, Maisie Herman, Keva Herman, Sammy Jo Herman, Sarah Herman, Jennifer Herman, and Cynthia Frye; and cousins, Linda Herman, Marla Herman, Alice Severson, and Brenda Brewer.
Sis was preceded by her husband, George “Wayne” Patton III; parents Paul Herman Sr and Pearl Herman (Bettelyoun); father-and-mother-in-law George Patton and Inez Patton (Ruff); paternal grandparents Jake Herman and Alice Herman (Janis); maternal grandparents Earl Bettelyoun and Mabel Bettelyoun (Dunlap); brother Donald “Don” Herman; uncles Jacob “Sonny” Herman, Rex Herman, Mike Bettelyoun, Bobby Bettelyoun, and Ivan Bettelyoun; aunts Grace Herman, Faith Lee, Hope Brewer, Maxine Fowler, and Kay Ferguson; sisters-in-law Walean Herman, Theresa “Sis” Ecoffey, and Ivy “Nita” Patton; nephews Leo Herman Jr, Jake John Herman, Justice Pettigrew, Calvin “Sonny” Patton, Michael Patton, and Dale Ecoffey; nieces Katrin Monroe, Paula Goings, and Sonchia Goings-Wilcox; and cousins Marshall Herman, Ogden “Babe” Wilson Jr, Ted Wilson, Doug Wilson, and Rex Wilson.
Pallbearers will be her nephews Steve Herman, Coy Herman, Troy Bettelyoun, Ronald Herman Jr, Shaun Herman, Leon Brewer, Jason Brewer, Tony Herman Jr, Dave Herman, Zach Herman, Jacob Herman, Andrew Herman, Jordan Herman, Brent Herman, and Richard Herman Jr, and cousins Howard Herman and Paul “Flip” Wilson.
Honorary pallbearers will be Arvene and Morris Brewer, Daphne and Robert Cook, Cecilia Haas, Donna Eagle Bull, Kathey Dondi Wilson, Carol Cloud Eagle, Connie Whirlwind Horse, Juanita Scherich, Lois “Chick” Fraser-Pourier, Alberta “Bobbie” Pond, Billi Black, Lola Lessert, Iva Jo Ruff, Patti Apple, Arlene Apple, Betty Rose Apple, Judy Merdanian, Alice Wilcox-Testerman, Altagracia Perez-Cibrian, Julian Vallejo, Wilma Leonard, Isabelle Stadnick & Family, Raphael Mendoza, Carlos Orosco & Family, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Robert Ecoffey, Doris Herman, Gwen Cuny, Toni Red Cloud, Devin Kyles, Karlene Hunter, Myla Jensen, Harold Dean Salway, Wesley “Chuck” Jacobs, Julie Hernandez, Connie Morgan-Richards, Chris Smallwood, Norma Rendon, Ernie and Liz Little, Ruth Pourier-Big Crow, Betty June Patton, Frank Two Crow, Richard Two Crow, Bill Brave Heart, Marrie Morgan, Janis Family, Clifford Family, Little Whiteman Family, Bettelyoun Family, Ferguson Family, Reddest/Means Family, Patton Family, Ecoffey Family, Goings Family, Big Crow Family, Ruff Family, Pond Family, Carlow Family, all former and current employees at Lil’ Angel’s and Nunpa Theatre, all co-workers at the BIA Social Services Office (Charlene Pacer, Starlet Fills the Pipe, Ben Kelly, Wilma Standing Bear, Lula Bettelyoun, and Mary Jo Tapio), all fellow OLC Board of Trustee Members , all fellow Pejuta Haka College Center Board Members, all fellow Oglala Sioux Tribal Council Members (1998-2000), all founding members of the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce, and all other family and friends too numerous to mention.
Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD