Spirit of Dakota

South Dakota's Premier Woman's Award

Get Nomination Form

Established October 1986

Huron Event Center
Saturday October 5, 2019
3:00 PM Nominee Tea
4:00 PM Art Show Opens
5:30 PM Social
6:30 PM Award & Celebration Banquet
For banquet tickets call Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau - 605-352-0000
For hotel rooms call the Crossroads Hotel - 1-800-876-5858


Close August 1st


Nomination Forms
Please mail nominations to:
Spirit of Dakota Award Society
PO Box 280
Huron, SD 57350
Spirit of Dakota Event

Statement of Purpose & Criteria

Dakota Award

The Spirit of Dakota Award is an annual honor bestowed each fall by the Spirit of Dakota Award Society at a state-wide event at the Crossroads Hotel & Huron Event Center. The Spirit of Dakota award is given to:

  • An outstanding South Dakota woman who has demonstrated leadership qualities and has been successful and admired in her community and state.
  • A woman with roots deep in Dakota whose courage and strength of character have helped develop her family and community.
  • A woman who has represented social, cultural, and education advancement for others.
  • This award is not Mother of the Year, nor Teacher of the Year, nor categorized but rather a recognition of those outstanding women who have been the symbols of all that we are proud of in our Prairie Women.
  • The nominee does not need to be a native of South Dakota, but must be a current, living resident of the state.

History of Spirit of Dakota Award

The nine foot bronze sculpture "Spirit of Dakota" which stands at the entrance of the Crossroads Hotel & Huron Event Center is the source for the state-wide Spirit of Dakota Award. Dale Claude Lamphere, nationally recogonized sculptor and artist, is the creator. This sculpture of a pioneer woman balanced against the wind was unveiled and dedicated in October 1987 by the citizens of Huron and is the unique possession of this community.

Spirit of Dakota Award

Award Plaque

South Dakota's Premier Woman's Award

This prestigious Spirit of South Dakota award plaque is an outstanding piece of art; each individually created by renowned sculptor, Dale Claude Lamphere, and treasured by each honoree. A one-foot bronze oval is graced with the pioneer woman sculpted upon its facade. To further illuminate the award, the bronze oval is mounted on smoky black lucite which is etched with the award inscription. The final element of the honor is an 18x20 burnished gold wooden frame which securely hold the cherished woman.

2018 Spirit of Dakota Award Winner

Beverly Stabber Warne - Rapid City

Beverly Stabber Warne - 2018 Spirit of Dakota Award Winner

 From Pine Ridge, SD to Bankok, Thailand the vision and courage of Beverly Stabber Warne has transformed health care throughout her 50+ years of service providing a voice for diversity and support to American Indian nursing students across the globe.

The 2018 Spirit of Dakota Award recipient has lived a lifetime of service to her profession as a nurse and nurse educator, along with contributing to her community and state in the leadership roles she has embraced. Bev was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Lakota is her first language.

After graduating from St. John’s McNamara School of Nursing in Rapid City, SD in 1962, Bev began her nursing career and continued her post-graduate work at Arizona State University where she earned her baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Along with serving in hospitals and clinics, Bev served on the faculty at Mesa Community College in Arizona for 17 years. She taught nursing courses and American Indian culture courses bringing richness to the programs of her traditional background and lifestyle. Bev served as Director of American Indian Students United for Nursing Program at Arizona State University. Her personal history helped her students to better understand the challenges as well as the courage and spirit needed to succeed.

Now retired, Bev has returned to her home state of South Dakota in recent years and continues to be an advocate and mentor. Currently Bev is now working on behalf of American Indian students at the SDSU College of Nursing Native American Nursing Education Center in Rapid City. The goal of the center is to increase and diversify the nursing workforce in South Dakota.

Her journey has not been a solitary one. Her willingness to serve others included not only whose lives she touched in her professional career but also within her family circle. Early in her marriage to the love of her life, Jim Warne Sr., the couple faced together the challenges that would come from a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Until Jim’s passing in 2010 for 47 years Bev was at her husband’s side while continuing her work and raising two sons who would ultimately choose careers in medicine. Jim Warne Jr. is the Community Engagement Director at the Center for Disabilities at University of South Dakota, while Dr. Donald Warne is a professor and associate dean at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at University of North Dakota.

In nominating Bev for the Spirit of Dakota Award, her nursing school classmates wrote: “As Lakota people, Bev and her sons thrived and provided service and meaning amidst cultural barriers. Bev always strove to help all the Lakota people by education, encouragement, example, and a vision for the future. She worked to help all students reach their potential. She has remained a close steadfast friend of all us since our 1962 graduation.”

Bev Stabber Warne’s strength of character and exemplary leadership serve as an inspiration to all people in our great state of South Dakota. The Spirit of Dakota Award Society extends our congratulations to the 2018 award recipient.

Pictured above: Ginger Thomson, Brookings, Selection Committe; Beverly Stabber Warne, Rapid City, Honoree; Glenda Fouberg, Aberdeen, Selection Committee; Marilyn Hoyt, Huron, Chairperson, Spirit of Dakota Award

2018 Nominees 

  • Kay Ainslie, Philip
  • Marlys Davis, Parker
  • Bonnie Fuller, Lead
  • Dr. Patti Giebink, Sioux Falls
  • Maxine Johnson, Vermillion
  • Barbara Rilling, Onida
  • Harriet Swedlund, Brookings
  • Beverly Stabber Warne, Rapid City

Distinguished Honorees

  • 1987 - *Mrs. Winifred Lorentson, Miller
  • 1988 - *Dr. Jeanie K. Sherman, Madison
  • 1989 - *Florence Bruhn, Watertown
  • 1990 - *Jeanette Lusk, Huron
  • 1991 - *Dorothy (D.J.) Cline, Brookings
  • 1992 - No Award Presentaion
  • 1993 - *Ruth Ziolkowski, Custer
  • 1994 - Sylvia Henkin., Sioux Falls
  • 1995 - Irene Fisher Coon, Sioux Falls
  • 1996 - Hildreth Twostars Venegas, Sisseton
  • 1997 - Lorraine Huntimer, Oldham
  • 1998 - Mary Lou Tripp, Belle Fourche
  • 1999- Marsha Sumpter, Phillip
  • 2000- *Donna Schipke, Newell
  • 2001 - Phyllis White Eyes DeCory, Rapid City
  • 2002 - Virginia Keil Lardinois, Huron
  • 2003 - Patricia Fawcett, Ree Heights
  • 2004 - *Alice Kundert, Mound City
  • 2005 - No Award Presentation
  • 2006 - Janice Manolis, Huron
  • 2007 - June James, Hazel
  • 2008 - Elaine Doll-Dunn, Spearfish
  • 2009 - Julie Garreau, Eagle Butte
  • 2010 - Dorothy Kellogg, Watertown
  • 2011 - Millie Humphrey, Whitewood
  • 2012 - Mary J. Milroy, MD, Yankton
  • 2013- Patricia Baird, Custer
  • 2014 - Theresa Stehly, Sioux Falls
  • 2015 - Mary Alice Woster Haug, Brookings
  • 2016 - Susan DeLaney-Kary, Parmelee
  • 2017 - Jean Wilkinson, DeSmet
  • 2018 - Beverly Stabber Warne, Rapid City



Selection Commission

  • Tona Rozum, Chair - Mitchell
  • Glenna Fouberg - Aberdeen
  • Jean Hunhoff - Yankton
  • First Lady Linda Daugaard - Pierre
  • Suzette Kirby - Sioux Falls
  • Julie Garreau - Eagle Buttte
  • Marsha Sumpter - Kadoka
  • Ginger Thomson - Brookings
  • Judy Trzynka - Watertown
  • Bev Wright - Turton

Spirit of Dakota Award Society

Marilyn Hoyt, Chairman

  • Beckie Freeman
  • Deannie LeRoux
  • Rosemary Moeller
  • Shelley Noonan
  • Mary Pearson
  • Bette Poppen
  • Terri Anderson-Schlader
  • Linda Schwartz
  • Mary Helen Wipf
  • Darcy Haber
  • Sarah Rubish
  • Erica McNeil
  • Jenny Sorben
  • Jane Meekins
  • Carol Milbrandt
  • Chery Dick
  • Sarah Radke

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