This page is a celebration of Joye Lebeau-Braun: a cherished mother, grandmother, and defender of our sacred water. Her legacy inspires us to carry on her important work, to protect our natural resources and communities. Let us honor her memory by continuing to advocate for positive change and creating a better world for all. In doing so, we can ensure that her spirit lives on and her vision for a brighter future is fulfilled. Together, we have the power to make a difference and create a lasting impact. Let us stay motivated and committed, knowing that our efforts are making a positive impact and that Joye’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. Mni Wiconi.

the Woman

Joye was a fascinating and accomplished woman whose life was dedicated to pursuing her passions and making an impact on the world. A proud member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Joye was born on January 20, 1969, in Winnebago, NB to Sandra Frazier and Ellsworth LeBeau. Growing up as one of three siblings alongside Denise LeBeau and Albert LeBeau, Joye grew up in various university communities, including Vermillion, SD, and Missoula, MT, where she developed her passion for the written word and activism.

Joye went on to become a prolific freelance writer, columnist, and photojournalist whose work could be found in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Tribal College Journal. Her unique perspective, eye for detail, and flair for storytelling earned her recognition and respect in the world of journalism. At Si Tanka Vision University, she served as the editor of the university newspaper while also holding the additional role of college public relations officer.

Those who knew Joye will remember her contagious laughter, her bubbly personality, and her ability to make everyone around her feel loved and appreciated. Her passing leaves a void that can never be filled, and she will be forever missed by those whose lives she touched. Rest in peace, Joye.

The Warrior

Joye’s Lakota name was Wanbli Wiyaka Win or Eagle Feather Woman, which speaks to her incredible strength and tenacity as a person. She was a warrior in every sense of the word and fought tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous peoples. Joye was a vocal advocate for protecting sacred tribal lands and worked tirelessly to ensure the lands across Turtle Island were protected for future generations.

Additionally, she was dedicated to protecting the cultural heritage of Indigenous nations and was passionate about promoting the sovereignty of these nations. Her unwavering commitment to these causes earned her a reputation as a true warrior for Indigenous rights, and her legacy as an advocate and activist continues to inspire people worldwide to this day.

The Organizer

Joye’s dedication to organizing protests and movements has made a significant impact on the communities and allies she has worked with. She has tirelessly devoted herself to uniting people to raise awareness and advocate for change. Joye’s efforts have been instrumental in mobilizing the community to voice concerns and take collective action to ensure the protection of Indigenous lands and the environment.

Through her work, Joye has created a space for individuals to come together and be heard. Her passion and commitment have inspired many to stand up for what they believe in and take action. She has been an influential figure in the fight against projects that threaten the environment and has brought attention and awareness to these important issues.

Joye’s leadership and dedication serve as an inspiration to us all. Her contributions to the cause of environmental protection and social justice have made a significant impact and will continue to do so for years to come.

Standing Rock

In early 2016 Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, Linda Black Elk, Dorothy Locke, and Anoretta Defender put out the call for people to come to Standing Rock. Following a meetingĀ  in Ft. Yates, SD at the community hall, Ladonna offered her land to establish a resistance camp to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) which crossed lands protected by the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty and threatened historic and sacred tribal land.

Joye answered the call. Her tipi was the first one to go up at camp on April 1st 2016 and Joye along with a few others including Wiyaka Eagleman started the Sacred Stone Camp.

During it’s peak, the Standing Rock Protest site was home to upward of 20,000 people who created a thriving community which was formed to directly oppose DAPL. People from around the world gathered and watched as peaceful protestors were brutalized by security and police forces.

Eventually the camps were forced to close in March of 2017, almost a full year after they had began. Joye was the first one there and one of the last ones to leave the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

The Firestorm

After Joye participated in the Standing Rock protests and witnessed the power of collective action in protecting our environment, she felt driven to redouble her efforts and stand up against the fossil fuel industry. She focused all her energy and expertise on campaigning against their harmful practices on every front.

Determined to make a meaningful impact, Joye took on the important role of National Pipelines Organizer at the Indigenous Environmental Network. As a key member of this organization, she used her extensive knowledge and skillset to engage with communities and stakeholders across the country, advocating for greater awareness and protection of our precious natural resources. As well as the protection of indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty.

Continued Fights

As we mourn the loss of Joye, we must remember the value and importance of our sacred Mother Earth that she fought so passionately to protect. Joye dedicated her life to raising awareness about the fragility of our planet and the urgent need for action against climate change. Despite her passing, her legacy lives on through the work of those who have been inspired by her leadership and unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. Through the uplifting of indigenous voices and our allies, we must continue to fight for our homes.

It is now on us to carry on her mission and honor her memory by being responsible custodians of this beautiful planet we call home. Let us honor the memory of Joye by continuing to advocate for environmental conservation by promoting sustainable practices for the betterment of our planet’s future and continue to protect the sovereignty of indigenous peoples.

You can learn more about the continued fight to protect our sacred Mother Earth by clicking here.

Her Legacy

On January 20, 2021, while waiting at the doctor’s office Joye received news that President Joe Biden had signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit after over a decade of fighting. It was a triumph of justice over corporate greed and a positive step towards a more sustainable future for all. This was proof that when we come together to fight for what we believe in, incredible things can happen.

To all those who fought tirelessly against the pipeline, including indigenous communities, landowners, farmers, ranchers, and climate activists, this came as a sigh of relief. The fight to kill the zombie pipeline was over. In Joye’s words, she said it was the best birthday present she could have gotten.

Joye’s tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to these vitally important causes has truly been inspirational. From the very beginning, when she first became involved in the fight to protect Mother Earth, she showed a passion and energy that was contagious and inspired many others to join the cause.

Her dedication never wavered, and her contributions were invaluable. Joye has helped raise awareness about the issues affecting our communities and worked tirelessly to effect real, positive change in her community and beyond.

Her unwavering commitment to these causes has left a lasting impact, not only on those who were fortunate enough to work alongside her but also on future generations who will continue to benefit from the progress that she helped to make possible.

Call To Action

Click the button below to be directed to some of our Allies and learn more about some of the causes Joye supported in life and that we continue to support.

Click Here

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