Charlene O’Rourke, Taoyewakanwi-Her Ways Are Sacred, is an Oglala Lakota woman who follows the spiritual and cultural beliefs of her ancestors. Currently working as Native Consultant for Native Connections Inc. She has served as a ceremonial musician and singer for different types of events and ceremonies over a span of 40 years. Charlene is also a professional composer and performer. She is working with NASA on a project studying the Indigenous Lakota Star Constellation. A motivational speaker and an International Certified Addictions Counselor and Community Specialist and Consultant, she serves both rural and urban Native communities including in federal and state prisons.
Celia H. Rodriguez founding member of La Red Xicana Indigena , at a gathering of 300 Indigenous women ceremony in Guatemala in 2015 recognizing and honoring the life commitment of Charlene O’Rourke, Lakota Oglala, to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous women through her activism, social service and spiritual tradition spoke about her in this way:
“Charlene was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Charlene’s mother, Beatrice McLaughlin, raised Charlene, her youngest daughter, to honor the Lakota traditional ways and supported and encouraged her work in urban and rural traditional Native communities, as well as her leadership in two-spirit ceremonial circles. She frequently said that Charlene’s example taught her how to love and receive love into her own life, accepting her daughter’s two-spirit friends with open arms and mind.”