Memorial services for Darrell Drapeau, 67, of Wagner were held Monday, May 24 at the National Guard Armory in Wagner, followed by military honors. Peters Funeral Home in Wagner is in charge of arrangements.
Darrell Eugene Drapeau, Isnana Najin Stands Alone, was born on January 3, 1954 and passed away on May 17, 2021. Darrell’s family history includes his father, Raymond H. Drapeau; mother, Annie Antelope-Drapeau; his dad's mother and father were; Rose Lovejoy, a Santee Sioux, and Hank Drapeau, also on his mother's side, her mother was Grace Horse Ring, and her father was John Antelope. Darrell had one older brother, Glen Gary and three sisters, Wanda Gary; Barbara Drapeau, and Candis Antelope.
Darrell’s hometown is Ravinia. His mother, Annie, was actively involved in the Ravinia Community Church, so they grew up with these teachings. Darrell attended a secondary school in Pierre and in Brainerd, MN. Darrell was a proud graduate of Andes Central class of 1974.
He immediately went into the Army after high school and was stationed in Wurzburg, Germany where he was an armorer. Darrell was honorably discharged and awarded the National Defense Service Medal in 1975.
Darrell was a very intelligent man and believed higher education was the key to success. He earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts from Haskell All Nations University, in Lawrence, KS in 1979. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in pre-law/political science from Yankton College in 1984. Then in 1985 he went to Albuquerque, NM to the University of New Mexico for a Special Scholarship Program in Law for American Indians. In 1993 he obtained a Paralegal Degree from the Stenotype Institute of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, where he had received Runner-up Outstanding Paralegal Student of the Year Award! In 2017 Darrell earned his Masters of Jurisprudence in Indian Law degree from the University of Tulsa Law School, where he had a special scholarship.
Darrell left a legacy of excellent work ethics for his children, grandchildren and all Ihanktonwan relatives. The Yankton Sioux Tribe has been his sole employer except for when he was in the Army. His first job at the Yankton Sioux Tribe was the Tribal Secretary from 1989-1991. Then he became the Tribal Chairman in 1993 until 1997. His next job would be at Marty Indian School as the Indian Studies Teacher from 2000-2001. Darrell then went on to work at Ihanktonwan Community College as the Librarian and Adjunct Instructor from 2000-2012. He also worked at Canku Teca Treatment Center as a night technician in 2002.
Darrell was elected to be a member of the Business and Claims Committee in 2005 to 2007. Darrell then went to work as the Yankton Sioux Tribe Administrative Officer in 2014-2015. Darrell’s last term that he was elected for as member of the Business and Claims Committee was in 2017-2019.
Darrell devoted his life to his tribe, tribal laws and lands. He successfully battled the state of South Dakota and Charles Mix County in our famous jurisdictional issue. He played a major role in getting the YS Travel Plaza up and running. Darrell served on the Treaty Steering Committee for several years. He will be remembered most by all students for his teachings from Tribal Laws and Treaties and American Government classes at ICC and MIS. To honor Darrell, his family will award a scholarship in his name each year at Ihanktonwan Community College.
Darrell had a big heart and was the best relative to everyone he encountered. He stood behind his friends and relatives 100%. He loved to joke and tease, especially in serious situations. He had a good sense of humor. He loved spending time with his family. In an interview by his granddaughter’s he had said, “My goals are simple: to live a happy life and to enjoy my grandchildren”. If he wasn’t reading his books, he would’ve been watching boxing, or the Walking Dead reruns. He was also a huge Marty Braves basketball fan.
Darrell leaves behind to mourn, his two daughters— Dawn Drapeau of San Juan Pueblo, NM and Bethany Drapeau-Siers of Wagner; brother Glen Gary of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; sister Candis Antelope of Adrian, MN; niece, Emberlyn Hopkins of Lake Andes; nephews, Farrand Hopkins, of Wagner and Bryce Antelope of Adrian, MN; grandsons: Tyler and Jordan Rivas both of San Juan Pueblo, NM; Alexander “Ikey” Eli Siers of Wagner; and granddaughters; Kayden, Kaymari and Braylyn Drapeau of Wagner; and Gracie Perez of San Juan Pueblo, NM; and many other relatives.
Darrell is preceded in death by his mother Annie Antelope-Drapeau; father Raymond H. Drapeau; his sisters Wanda Gary and Barbara Drapeau; and granddaughter Amiah MorningStar Houseman.