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Joye Braun
Joye Braun. Photo: Juliana BrownEyes-Clifford /
‘Modern Day Warrior’: Native rights advocate Joye Braun passes on
Monday, November 28, 2022

Joye Michelle Braun, a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe known for organizing resistance against pipelines in Indian Country, passed away on November 13. She was 53 years old.

Braun’s Lakota name was Wambli Wiyan Ka’win, meaning “Eagle Feather Woman.” As an organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, she helped lead opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, creating a modern movement in protection of water, natural resources and treaty rights.

“Joye was a force to be reckoned with, but to those who knew her well, her heart was as big as Turtle Island and she would give her last meal or pair of moccasins to those in need,” Kandi White, a friend from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, said in announcing Joye’s passing. “Her advice and counsel was sought by many, she could always be counted on to speak the truth and she pulled no punches. For this, and so much more, she was respected by colleagues and adversaries alike.”

“Joye is/was the epitome of a Modern Day Warrior,” added White, who serves as programs director for IEN, a non-profit based in Minnesota. “We will continue the work she was dedicated to in her honor; just as she would expect us to. Our sister will be greatly missed.”

Braun died at her home on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, according to her obituary. Funeral arrangements are pending.