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Richard Deo Grass papers

Identifier: MS-254

Content Description

The Correspondence series contains incoming and outgoing correspondence to and from Richard Grass. This series is arranged by date. The Biographical and Personal Files series contains correspondence, genealogy materials, land documents, court materials, military records and medical records of Richard Grass and family members. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) series contains correspondence and documents related to UNPO. UNPO is an international, nonviolent, and democratic membership organization. It was formed on February 11, 1991 in the Hague, Netherlands. Its Members are indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognized States, and occupied territories that have joined together to defend their political, social and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to promote their right to self-determination. The Tribal and Court Records series contains records and correspondence relating to Grass’s advocacy in tribal and court matters. Included are materials containing correspondence, documents and speeches at international conferences and universities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Alaska, and Geneva. It also contains materials when Grass represented the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nation at the United Nations and at the United States Supreme Court in defense of Native American claims to the Black Hills. Materials on Treaties, genocide and the rights of indigenous peoples are also included. This collection also contains photocopies of magazine and newspaper clippings, one floppy disk, one VHS tape and one DVD disk, color photographs, color negatives, one black and white photograph and one black and white negative.


  • Creation: 1950’s-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains some restricted material. Researchers are advised to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to visiting.

Box 1 Folder 31 Child Support Documents (restricted) Box 1 Folder 32 Veterans Administration Health Records (restricted) Box 1 Folder 33 Injuries in Military Service Documents (1 of 2) (restricted) Box 1 Folder 34 Injuries in Military Service Documents (2 of 2) (restricted) Box 1 Folder 36 Agreement between the South Dakota Historical Society and Richard Grass, Mona J. Grass and Paul T. Boleyn, 1992, (restricted) Box 8 Folder 10 JoDene, Joseph, and Dion Nez Perce Court Records, 2004, (restricted) Box 8 Folder 15 Correspondence Concerning Children Taken Away, 2003, (restricted)

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Deo Grass (Charging Bear) was born on May 29, 1939 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to Joseph Gordon Grass and Seraphina Susie Romero Grass. Grass had one sister Mona Brown who was also born on the Pine Ridge Reservation on September 18, 1936. Grass had two children, Deo Richard Grass, Jr. born July 21, 1976 and Marina K. Allison born May 23, 1978. Grass was raised off the reservation in Alliance, Nebraska and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He served in the United States Marine Corp from March 3, 1957 to March 5, 1963. His military career included three years of active service and three years of reserve service during the Vietnam Era. After he was discharged from the Marines, Grass hitchhiked around Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Washington, settling in California for a few years. Grass left California and returned to Nebraska to help his mother who was living alone. Grass was an activist for the rights of indigenous peoples. Grass represented the Lakota Nation at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and at the United Nations. He spoke at international conferences and universities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Alaska, and Geneva. Grass spoke for the Lakota Dakota Nakota (LDN) Tribal Nation at the United States Supreme Court in defense of Native American claims to the Black Hills. He played a pivotal role in persuading his people to reject the Black Hills monetary award dockets A and B. Grass died on December 23, 2010 in Rapid City, South Dakota and is buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, Meade County, South Dakota.


4.5 Linear Feet (10 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection contains material related to Richard Grass, who was a leader in the Native American and Indigenous rights movements.


The collection is arranged into eight series: Series I: Correspondence, Series II: Biographical and Personal Files, Series III: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Series IV: Tribal and Court Records, Series V: News Clippings, Series VI: Ephemera, Series VII: Media, and Series VIII: Photographs.

Richard Deo Grass papers
Diane Frigge
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository