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Steven R. Valandra (Piya Inajin: “Stands Again”), 63, St. Francis, S.D., was welcomed to the Spirit World on Aug. 4, 2015, with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews at his side, at Sanford Medical Center, Sioux Falls.

Tragically, he was claimed by a massive stroke.

Traditional Native and Catholic prayers and songs were offered during Thursday-Friday wakes; Skitter Leader Charge played guitar and sang songs (favorites of Steven). At the funeral, Ben Black Bear Jr. and Mike Cross offered words of comfort and guidance to families present, Steven’s family, and his many friends.

Steven Richard Valandra was born June 27, 1952, to the Cato W. and Christine M. (Johnson) Valandra Family at IHS Hospital in Rosebud, S.D.

As an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST), Steven grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and later graduated high school from Holy Rosy Mission on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1971.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Thomas Valandra Sr. and his father Cato, Steven exhibited special leadership as a Trustee with the City of St. Francis, and served as Acting City President. He also was Chairman of St. Francis Community and was currently serving as Vice Chairman.

Steven was in his second term At-Large on the RST Judiciary Committee, and enjoyed majority voting support from the RST Council. He loved the give and take of politics, and deeply understood that his primary role as a public servant was to improve the lives of the constituents he served.

Steven was an active participant in the University of South Dakota Upward Bound Project.

In 1971, during the Vietnam Era, Steven received notice that he was being drafted into military service. It was while undergoing physical exams in Sioux Falls and Omaha that doctors discovered he had a potentially deadly heart murmur, caused by turbulent sounds of blood rushing near the heart. The discovery prohibited military service.

Steven had known of the condition since childhood, but as he grew to adulthood he had refused to let his condition define him or limit his quest to be a contributing member of the community.

For more than 35 years, Steven devoted himself to researching the history and genealogy of the Valandra-Valandry Tiospaye, which he shared with relatives near and far, helping them to connect or just stay in touch. He had extensive knowledge and background of the Tiospaye, which he freely shared or enlightened at annual family reunions. He kept everyone informed through a periodical newsletter and networking, and in recent years had even prepared a family video for showing at reunions.

As a father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather and friend, Steven is held in high regard by the community and tribe he served. He will be deeply missed; never forgotten.

Steven is survived by sons: Robert, Wes (Chastity) and Jeffery; 10 grandchildren: Kessa, Kylie, Robert Jr., Rylie, Aiden, Daniel, Faith, Chris, Bryce and Elix; one great granddaughter: Danielle.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Cato and Christine; older brothers: Raymond, Wilson; younger brother: Charles. He is survived by: Ronald, Patsy, Howard, Edward, Mike, Judy and Lee.


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