Alta Swiftbird Shelton

  • BORN: February 18, 1937
  • DIED: April 2, 2013
  • LOCATION: Rapid City, South Dakota

Funeral services for Alta Swiftbird Shelton, 76, of Rapid City, former Eagle Butte resident, will be Friday, Apr. 5 at 10:00AM, at the Lakota Cultural Center, Eagle Butte. Burial follows at Mossman Cemetery, under the direction of Stout Family Funeral Home, Mobridge. Meet at the 4 mile Jct. 4:00PM Thursday to proceed to the cultural center for services beginning at 7:00PM. Alta entered the spirit world April 2, 2013 in Rapid City.

Alta Marie Swiftbird-Shelton entered the spirit world April 2, 2013 surrounded by her children and loved ones after a short battle with cancer. Her passing was very peaceful.

Alta was born on February 18, 1937 at Old Cheyenne Agency, to the late Elsie Swiftbird-Garreau. Alta was well known for her quick wit, humor, love and laughter. She was known throughout Indian country as a Champion Northern Traditional Dancer. She loved traveling and dancing with her family and friends. She was happiest surrounded by her family, playing cards, playing Bingo, sharing holidays or just visiting and reminiscing about old times.

She married Pete Shelton on September 12, 2002. They made their home in Rapid City, SD, at the time of her passing. Alta retired from work in 1995. She was last employed with the Stepping Stones Program through the BIA Education Office in Eagle Butte, SD. She worked closely with the dormitory students as a counselor/aide, developing close relationships with all her students and was called "grandma" by many at the time of her retirement. Alta worked in various positions throughout her life, administrative, clerical, and secretarial. Alta was an integral part in establishing the Johnson O'Malley Program in Rapid City, SD in the late 1970's, where it is still in operation today.

During her retirement she worked on beading projects, sewing, painting, crafting and designing dance outfits, and creating items for her home. Her superior craftsmanship was admired by many people. She was one of the first to design 'Chief shirts' for her son Terry Fiddler's traditional dancing career. The shirts were so beautiful and symbolic; it wasn't long before others were duplicating her designs. She was very honored and happy to be a part of the new style of shirts. She loved to watch her children and grandchildren dance. She helped them learn how to design and sew their dance outfits. She was content knowing her traditional and cultural ways will be carried on by her family members.

Alta didn't want people to be sad for her passing; she said she wanted people to celebrate her life because that's how she lived her life. She loved making people laugh and always wanted people to feel comfortable around her. Even during her illness she teased and joked with all her nursing staff. They said it was rare to see someone approach their end with such a great attitude. She was happy and ready to go be with her relatives. She said, "…I raised enough cain here, now let's see what I can get away with up there."

Alta is survived by her husband Pete Shelton, Rapid City, SD; seven children, Terry & Marcy Fiddler, Redwing, MN, Larry & Tanya Fiddler, Eagle Butte, SD, Candace LeBeau & Severt Youngbear, Jr., Eagle Butte, SD, Dee & Jon Hein, Rapid City, SD, Dane Le Beau, Eagle Butte, SD, Tina & Tom Carlson, Wichita Falls, TX, and Pat Mike, Minot, ND. Hunka family, Audrey Cambell, Darlene Taken Alive, Anne Starr, BJ Billie, Tima Menard-LaDeaux, Gloria Snow, Melanie Two Eagle, Grace Gillette, Diane Buck, Dwight White Buffalo, Steve Emery, Jeff Henderson, Julius Not Afraid, Calvin Cambell, Melvin Young Bear and the late Marvin Starr. Numerous nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Elsie Swiftbird-Garreau; sister, Rita LeBeau; brother, Archie LeBeau and granddaughter, Cheyenne Fiddler.

Funeral Service
  • April 05, 2013
    10:00 AM
  • H.V. Johnston Lakota Cultural Center
  • Eagle Butte, SD 57625
  • Get Directions


“ My condolences and prayers to the entire family, especially her children, Terry, Larry, Candy, Dee and Dane. I remember her fondly and have always...Read More »

Posted by: Donna Jackson Hayes

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