Kevin Locke, preeminent player of the North American Indigenous flute, hoop dancer, traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, educator, and preserver of Indigenous languages and songs, died suddenly on September 30 while on tour performing in Custer, South Dakota. He suffered an asthma attack at his hotel in the evening following a performance at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills and passed away while being taken to the hospital.
From his official obituary:
Mr. Locke was an active member of the Baha’i Faith. He used folk arts to emphasize universal themes that are integral to all peoples. Universality of human spirit, its inclination towards peace, balance, harmony, and a longing that all human beings have for the Divine Springtime are a few central themes that he displayed in his hoop dance, which is essentially a prayer for the unification of all mankind. Using his folk arts as a vehicle, Locke shared this prayer with children and adult alike ranging from 50 to 55,000 people at a time. Even though he has performed in many prestigious venues to innumerable dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama, his favorite audience continued to be children and youth. When recently asked about his mission in life he said:
“All of the people have the same impulses, spirits, and goals. Through my music and dance, I want to create a positive awareness of oneness of humanity.”
If you would like to honor Kevin’s life of service, consider donating to the nonprofit he established in his mother’s name, the Patricia Locke Foundation by visiting its Donation page. The Foundation “promotes unity and oneness, traditional arts, culture, language, and character education”.
Obituaries and Tributes
- Acclaimed Native American flute player, hoop dancer has died — Associated Press
- Locke, acclaimed Native American flute player, hoop dancer dies — The Sentinel-Record, Hot Springs, Arkansas
- Kevin Locke, Lakota Flute Player, Hoop Dancer, and Cultural Ambassador, Walks On at 68 — Native News Online
- ‘Huge loss for the world’: Lakota cultural bearer Kevin Locke passes on — Indianz.com
- Kevin Locke, Who Worked to Preserve Lakota Culture, Dies at 68 — New York Times (paywall; subscription required)