Scholarship Press Release May 31, 2019: Oglala Lakota College announces the Martin Waukazoo Scholarship

Scholarship Press Release May 31, 2019: Oglala Lakota College announces the Martin Waukazoo Scholarship


The Board of Trustees of Oglala Lakota College has established the Marty Waukazoo Scholarship in recognition of his many accomplishments. This scholarship will assist students in helping to defray their student costs in attending OLC. A fundraising event will be held through reception for Marty at the Rapid City He Sapa Center on Friday, June 15 from 3:30-5 pm. Martin “Marty” Waukazoo’s family background includes his father Philip Waukazoo and his mother Muriel Blacksmith. Marty’s Dad was a tribal member from the Grand Traversie Reservation. His mother Muriel was the daughter of Mary Prue and Gilbert Blacksmith. He was from a family of activists. Marty’s uncle was Ernest “Speck” Blacksmith who was a member of the St. Francis basketball team that played in the 1934 National Catholic Interscholastic basketball tournament in Chicago. This was an invitational tournament that invited the best 32 Catholic teams in the United States. Joining Speck on the 1934 team included his cousin Theodore Prue, Emil Red Fish, Leonard Quick Bear, and Collins Jordan. Also in 1934, the St. Francis team played a traveling Harlem Globetrotters Team and in their first game, the Globetrotters did their trick plays and comedic antics and when the final buzzer went off, the St. Francis team won by one point. The Harlem Globetrotters demanded that they play another game the next night, and in a bruising game, the Globetrotters won by one point.


A Globetrotter player commented on the 1934 Team “that they were the fastest team, high school or professional, that they had met in their 1933-34 barnstorming season.” This quote came from article in the International Journal of Sports History. In 1941, St. Francis has its best finish in the Chicago National Tournament by finishing 2nd. and this team was led by Vincent Brewer. Holy Rosary also played in the Chicago Catholic tournaments. Marty’s athletic career started when he and his friend Dennis Brewer both made the Rapid City Little League All-Stars. He later pitched for one summer with the Rapid City Post 22 baseball team. He was most successful athletically as a basketball player for the Rapid City Cobblers. In 1967, he was a Prep All-American, led his Cobbler team to 2nd place in the State A basketball tournament along with being the tourney MVP and on the All-Tourney Team.

He was also on the 1967 Class A Basketball first team and elected into the South Dakota Basketball Hall of Fame. A sportswriter wrote that “1967 was the year of the Indian”, because Marty along with Bruce Bad Moccasin, and Will Garnier were first-team All-Staters. This accomplishment has not been repeated. He went on to play basketball at Black Hills State University and he was a very good player until a knee injury ended his basketball career. Marty was one of a number of great basketball players who played for the Rapid City Cobblers and many of these players were coached by Dave Strain. Some of these Cobbler players were Vince Whipple, Rich Gerry, Steve Withorne, and Marty Branch. OLC President Thomas Shortbull fondly remembered the stories that his mother told him about the 1934 and 1941 St. Francis basketball teams and the many great games that she was able to see in her life time. These included St. Francis Scarlet Warrior games, her son Tom’s games as a Provo Rattler, and a game that she saw that pitted the 1967 Cobblers against the Pine Ridge Thorpes. She said it was a very exciting game with Will Garnier hitting longs shots 2-3 feet past what would be the current 3 point line and Marty matching him in scoring with his drives to the basket along with his long shots. The Cobblers beat the Thorpes in a close game to win the Sectional Tournament. In 1973, Marty graduated from Black Hills State University and moved to Oakland, California. In 1982, he became the CEO of the Oakland Native American Health Center. NAHC is a community- based non-profit organization with an all Indian Board of Directors.


Marty boldly addressed health disparity issues and loss of culture of the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1982, NAHC has increased its annual budget from $800,000 to $35 million. The number of staff has increased from 17 to 350 employees. In 1984, he oversaw the acquisition of a 4-story human service building in Oakland. In 2007, he organized the funding and construction of 7 Directions, a beautiful new 26,000 square foot medical and dental facility along 38 units of family affordable housing built on the 4th floor. He is currently building a 17,000 square foot American Indian Cultural Center with 75 affordable apartment homes. He has established community clinics in Fresno and Sacramento in California. He is the founder of the California Urban Health Consortium.

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Marty’s work has had a major impact in the quality of life for Native American in the San Francisco Bay Area. Marty is a strong supporter of the culture, customs and ceremonies of the Lakota people. For many years, he has come to the Pine Ridge Reservation to participate in Richard Moves Camp’s Sun Dance. He is married to Helen Waukazoo, CEO of the Friendship House Association of American Indians that specializes in alcoholism. She is a Navajo and Founder of the Friendship House. Their children are Duane, Karen, Crystal, and Britta. They have 3 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.