Leader of Rochester's Native American community passes away - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Leader of Rochester's Native American community passes away

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Nancy Rock Nancy Rock

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A leader of Rochester's Native American community has passed away.

Nancy Rock had been one of the leaders of the Native American Center of Southeast Minnesota and the American Indian Center of Rochester, helped run Indian pow-wows for many years, and taught classes at the Historical Center of Olmsted County on things that had happened over the centuries to native American peoples.  A few decades ago, when she lived in St. Paul, Nancy was active in the American Indian Movement.

"I just get goosebumps up and down my spine because I meet old friends and I meet new friends, and we get together and have a good time," Nancy told KTTC's Chris Hrapsky back in April, 2007, as she watched one of the pow-wow dances in Rochester.  That day she was taking donations for the event.

Nancy was Chippewa by heritage.  Her family says services for her were held Friday in Rochester, and a public memorial will be held soon to honor her.  She was 68 years old.

"She was full of life, always caring, always there for everybody," said Candie Distad, her sister.

One of the founders of Rochester's Native American Center back in 1984, Nakoma Volkman, said he has known her for 25-30 years, and remembers her well. 

"She was a beader, and made dream-catchers, it was exciting to her," said Volkman.  "I saw her at Mayo Clinic a year, year and a half ago, she was quite a craft person, but then she had a series of strokes.  It was hard for her to give up beading... that's who she was." 

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