Dr. Jerry Yellowhawk
Continues Decades-Long Lakota Bible Translation
Dr. Jerry Yellowhawk
, our Respected Elder, continues his
work of translating the Bible into the Lakota Language.
This Lakota translation project began in 1960 when several Native believers came together and decided it was important to have the scriptures accurately translated into the heart language of the Lakota people.
The project was on and off for a number of years until 1999, when Dr. Yellowhawk
was asked by Wycliff to revive it.
Now sponsored by the American Bible Society
, the work progresses on a weekly basis.
Lakota Translation Community Testing Team
and other translators first individually work on a section of text.
From left to right (front row): Jerry Yellowhawk, translator; Rosalie Little Thunder, translator; Carla Marshall, book keeper; (back row) Ben Black Bear, translator; Steve Berneking, American Bible Society consultant; Jack Rushing, Exegetical Resource Facilitator.
Recognized as Respected Elder
A Respected Elder - Dr. Gerald Yellowhawk
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Gerald Yellowhawk
has been recognized as Respected Elder for Wesleyan Native Ministries
"We are honoring Dr. Yellowhawk for his lifetime of ministry as a pastor, district superintendent, leader, mentor and friend in The Wesleyan Church and Wesleyan Native Ministries," said Rev. Rich Avery, WNM's director.
Jerry, as his friends call him, graduated from WNM's former Brainerd Bible School in 1960 with degrees in human services and religion.
His first congregation was in Pierre, SD, where Jerry served as an associate pastor for five years.
From Pierre he went to Eagle Butte, SD, on the Cheyenne River Reservation (where he grew up), and founded the Cheyenne River Lakota Chapel.
pastored there for eighteen years.
In 1985 the Yellowhawks moved to Rapid City, SD when Jerry took a position with Wesleyan Native Ministries.
worked for us in various capacities, including district superintendent, until his
retirement in 2001.
retirement years, Jerry
has continued his
call by working on a Lakota translation of the Bible.
According to a feature article in the Fall, 2007 edition of Black Hills Faces magazine
Existing Lakota translations date to the late 1800s and were literal translations written by non-Native missionaries.
recognized the need to translate the Bible into the everyday language of the Lakota people in ways that would speak to their hearts - and there was no one more qualified to take on this project than a Lakota man who had Christian convictions and a wealth of experience pastoring his
So far, with the help of grants and a few assistants, he
has finished the book of Luke and is part-way through Acts.
It is a long and complex process, but Jerry
"It's very necessary.
It's more human for us in Lakota," he
Aside from his
translation work, Jerry
is spending his
retirement painting, beadworking, traveling to art show and pow-wows, and guest-speaking at churches - as well as enjoying the legacy of seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
does, Gerald Yellowhawk's
work is rooted in the deep values of his
Lakota and Christian heritage.
"It's been a good journey," he
Jerry also serves on the Native Ministry Leadership Team in the Dakota District of The Wesleyan Church, and he preaches in the Eagle Butte church once a month.
We celebrate Jerry
, and his
wife Johanna, for over 50 years of humble and faithful service to the Lord - "Still following the risen Son," as he
likes to say.
And we're grateful for his
willingness to serve with us as Respected Elder.
Writings of Jerry Yellowhawk