Who We Are

Kul Wicasa Wopasi (Lower Brule Research) is an Indigenous youth-led 501(c)3 nonprofit, based on the Kul Wicasa Oyate Tribal Nation.

Kul Wicasa Wópasi
PO Box 146
Lower Brule, SD 57548

Kul Wicasa Wopasi Executive Director

Madeline Ryan - Executive Director

Madeline is an enrolled member of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe where she has lived her whole life. She is currently a Junior at Lyman High School, and does sports such as basketball, and track. She has been working with Kul Wicasa Wopasi for about a year as an innovator, and she has learned so much about leadership, food sovereignty, and being passionate about creating a food sovereignty program and doing other things to help her community. Madeline plans on pursuing teaching after highschool she wants to help make a positive impact on people's life while giving them a good education.

Ash Grassrope - Executive Director

Ash Grassrope is a 17 year old senior, attending Lyman High School. He is a Lower Brule Sioux Tribal member and previously worked with Kul Wicasa Wopasi as an innovator. One of his hobbies is drawing which is why he plans to go to college to pursue an art career.

Kul Wicasa Wopasi Board of Directors

Charles LaRoche - Board President

Charles is a teacher and coach at Lower Brule Schools and an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. Charles graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a BA in History and has previously worked as a Residential Youth Care Worker and Firefighter. Charles is passionate about supporting Lower Brule youth and creating educational spaces for the next generation of community leaders.

Lydia Sazue - Board Vice President

Lydia is currently the case manager at Lower Brule Human Services Department. She also has an Associates in Arts and Sciences, along with an Associates in Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Sinte Gleska University. Lydia also sits on the Lower Brule Community College Board of Trustees and enjoys coaching her daughter’s youth traveling basketball team. Lydia  is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and grew up in Lower Brule.

Natalie Anderson - Board Treasurer

Natalie, an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, serves as president of the Lower Brule Community College. Natalie has her doctorate in education from Northcentral University specializing in higher education leadership. In addition, she is a graduate of National American University with a master's in business administration. Natalie has many passions in life, but foremost is education. In her eyes, education does far more than provide credentials; it proves a person’s determination to seek a better life.

McKayla Estes - Board Secretary

McKayla is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and grew up in Lower Brule. McKayla is very active in Lakota culture and started her college career right after high school. She currently has an Associates in Arts and Sciences and has the long term goal of building a program/establishment for troubled youth in her community, where they can get the help they need while living in a stable environment.

Elva Stricker - Tasina Tope Win (Four Shawl Woman) Board Member

Elva is an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and currently employed with the tribe's finance department. She is working towards her AA in Human Services. She has also taken on the role in assisting young women in their journey to increase their cultural knowledge through ceremony and social activities. Elva is a firm believer in "Only a tribe can help save and heal a tribe."

Kylee Estes - Board Member

Kylee is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where she grew up. She joined the Army in 1999, right out of High school. She moved back to South Dakota and began working at the Pierre Indian Learning Center for 3 years. She came back to the Lower Brule Reservation and began working at the Boys & Girls Club. She was moved into the Directors position of the Circles of Care program and was there for 2 years. She is now an administrative Assistant for the Partnership for Success program in Lower Brule. She genuinely enjoys doing things for her community and really does not seek the recognition for doing it. She believes all you must do is apply yourself and try, no matter how long it takes, if you are trying and moving forward.