On February 9th, 1992, while driving to the South Dakota Miss Basketball banquet to accept an award, SuAnne Big Crow perished in a car accident. Big Crow, who hailed from the Pine Ridge Reservation, was known as a remarkable basketball player as well as her advocacy for Lakota history and culture.
Big Crow’s advocacy and sportsmanship were not forgotten, either. Seven years following Big Crow’s untimely death, President Bill Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Reservation. Following his visit, President Clinton called both Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo to discuss the creation of a youth center in Pine Ridge.
In August 2000, the youth center became a reality with the dedication of the SuAnne Big Crow Youth Wellness and Opportunity Center, a Boys and Girls Club of America. The building aimed to meet the dreams of SuAnne Big Crow by providing area youth with a drug- and alcohol-free environment.
While the facility is no longer a member of the Boys and Girls Club, it remains committed to serving youth in Pine Ridge. In 2016, the facility offered health-related services to adults on a fee basis, including water aerobics courses.
In addition to the facility bearing her name, Big Crow was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame on March 25, 2017.
To read more about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.