Cheryl Kulas went to her final rest on March 11, 2023, at the age of 79, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. In her final days, she was comfortable and watched over by her children and other loved ones. She will be greatly missed.
Born into the Oglala Lakota tribal nation, Cheryl arrived in this life in Pine Ridge, SD. She was the oldest of 12 children and, from a young age, developed passions for caring for others and maintaining the traditions of her people, as well as a belief in the power of education. She earned a Bachelors degree at the University of North Dakota and a Masters degree in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. She then served the people of North Dakota for many years in the State Department of Public Instruction, where she always found time to advocate for the special needs of indigenous children. Cheryl was a Bush foundation and Ford foundation fellow and was a member of the North Dakota Indian Education Association, the National Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Indian Education Association, earning awards as Educator of the Year in 1992 and, in 2009, a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in her field. Before she retired, Cheryl also served 6 years as Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, during which the ND National Guard awarded her as a civilian a State Meritorious Service Medal. She also went on to serve a term on the Board of Regents for the University Of Mary.
Cheryl was a busy mother of two and grandmother of three, all of whom she adored and loved wholeheartedly. She believed in the power of the home, welcoming those who arrived at her door as family. When not spending time or playing cards with family and friends, she was always working on projects, sewing, building, rehabilitating old furniture, renovating, and cooking.
Cheryl is preceded in death by her grandparents, mother, father, stepfather, three sisters, a brother, two nephews, and many other loved ones. She is survived by her two children, Jon and Jennifer, and their significant others, three grandchildren, four sisters, three brothers, and many nieces and nephews, as well as extended family.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 8, 2023, at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour before the service at Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, MN.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that any donations be given to the Alzheimer's Association for research and hopefully a cure one day or to Hospice of Red River Valley for the amazing care that Cheryl received.