The late Dr. Elden Lawrence was a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. One of 10 children, he attended the Flandreau Indian School briefly, and then enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17, where he served six years, including a tour of duty in Korea. Having obtained his GED certificate, he then completed an undergraduate degree at Sisseton Wahpeton College, and later he earned a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from South Dakota State University.
Following his graduate work, he served as President of Sisseton Wahpeton College for several years, providing leadership during an especially challenging transitional time for that institution. He served for two terms on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Council, and was appointed to fill out one term as Tribal Secretary. He also was Visiting Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Minnesota-Mankato.
His publications include, The Peace Keepers: Indian Christians and the Dakota Conflict. Elden and his wife Kim had two children, Derrick and Deborah, and six grandchildren.
Elden left us for the Spirit World on July 11, 2014.