Global educator to bring message of unity to Montevideo Middle School

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News
Kevin Locke will be visiting the Montevideo Middle School Friday, December 10th.

Kevin Locke has made a career out of teaching, being a classroom teacher since 1974, before moving into working with the South Dakota State Arts Board in the latter part of the 70s to bring education about Indigenous culture and arts to the world. This week, Locke brings his program to Montevideo Middle School with three assemblies and a flute-making workshop to be held on Friday, December 10th. 

Throughout his career, Locke has traveled to 97 countries, hosting assemblies and workshops. This will be his first visit to Montevideo, although he has visited Upper Sioux Agency, Redwood Falls, and Lower Sioux Agency in the area previously. Describing what he does during his presentations, Locke says, “I use the traditional arts to transcend tribal or cultural-specific themes. To accentuate universal themes or universal values and really emphasize the theme of unity and oneness, and cooperation and reciprocity.”

Locke, a South Dakota resident, says he was inspired to bring his message of education and unity to the world because when he started the venture in the late 1970s, there were few people doing the same. “There was an opportunity to share, to create understanding in others. I don’t say that I entertain at all. It’s all about education,” he says. His goal is to help young people understand their role in the emerging global civilization. “We all have something to contribute, something valuable,” he explains. 

The assemblies for MMS students are planned to be highly interactive. “I created this to bring interaction with music through dancing, and a more intrinsic experience so they can see themselves the different aspects of what it is to be a human being,” Locke explains. 

The flute-making workshop is free and open to all students from 3:30 -5:30 on Friday in the MMS commons. Those attending will make flutes, and then Locke will instruct those participating in how to play the songs. Students must sign up by emailing Mrs. Streich. Locke says there is no limit to how many people can attend the workshop, but he needs to know in advance how many kits to bring. 

Locke also says members of the community who are interested in learning more about his mission can visit his nonprofit educational site for the Patricia Locke Foundation. The foundation is named in honor of his mother, who spent her life educating on traditional ways and advocating for the protection of Indigenous rights and protection of heritage. “My mother was really an activist. She wanted to create a continuity of her work and that’s why we have this education platform,” Locke says. The website is patricialockefoundation.org. More information about Kevin Locke's assemblies and workshops can be found on his website at kevinlocke.com.