Jerome Kills Small tells amazing oral stories


Steven Hamling, reporter

Normally you hear stories from books, watching TV, or from magazines and newspapers.  Jerome Kills  Small does a different type of storytelling. Using his  own voice, he uses  oral storytelling to talk about stories from his life experiences. Kills Small spoke to Northeast Community College students at the Student Center on September 20, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Oral storytelling is when a story is  told using a person’s own voice, and it is not typed.  He has been telling stories since he was 4 years old. He  would retell  stories to his relatives  and friends.  Jerome actually ” lives his stories” by going to  ceremonies, pow wows, museums, other colleges, and  anything that is real.  This makes Jerome’s stories more relate-able  to the audience members.

One of Jerome’s story topics  is about his bond with animals.  One of the key bonds between him and animals is communication. He says,  ” When I load horses into a trailer, I can feel their power, and strength. The animals help me to build  character.” He says he  learns life lessons from these animals. He says one time there was  a cat that managed to teach him about forgiveness.

A 1997 graduate of the University of South Dakota (USD), Kills Small holds a Master of Arts in selected studies. He taught Lakota language, early Native American history and Native American oratory at USD for twenty years.

Kills Small is featured in the book Wounded Warriors: A Time for Healing and has a story in the Silver Anniversary Anthology, published by the South Dakota Humanities Council. He also appears in the documentaries America’s Lost Landscape: The Tallgrass Prairie and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s Bones of Contention: Repatriation and Reburial.

Kills Small translates, explains and sings Lakota ceremonial, sweatlodge, powwow, rabbit, round dance, warrior, vision quest and sun dance songs, and performs with the Iron Wing Singers of Wagner, SD. He serves on the board of directors for Lakota Youth Development.