Wo'kikso'ye!: Live and Remember. Reflections on Akicita Cik'ila, Little Soldier, Alex Lunderman (1929-2000)


  • Richard W. Voss West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • Joel R. Ambelang University of Wisconsin Milwaukee


Lakota Sioux Tribe, Tribal Elder and Leader, Traditional ways of help and healing, Indigenous social work


It isn’t often that one gets to meet someone like Alex J. Lunderman, Sr. His Lakota name was Akicita Cik’ala (Little Soldier). The co-authors of this reflection worked closely with Alex over the years in different ways. Richard Voss, who is the speaker in this narrative, met Alex (Little Soldier) in his personal spiritual journey that eventually linked to his research interests in a number of collaborations with Alex (Little Soldier) and other Lakota Elders (Voss, R. W., Douville, V., Little Soldier, A., & White Hat, Sr., 1999a; Voss, Douville, Little Soldier, & Twiss, 1999b). Joel Ambelang followed this research closely and became interested in conducting his own study of Alex’s leadership style. Joel discussed this interest with Richard, who introduced him to Alex Lunderman whom he eventually interviewed, including excerpts in his dissertation: Zuya: A Journey of Understanding Lakota Leadership through the life of Little Soldier (Ambelang, 2003).

Author Biographies

Richard W. Voss, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

I am a full professor of social work at West Chester University of PA where I have held an academic appointment since 1996. I am a recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2015). I am a guest lecturer and researcher at Friedensau Adventist University, Friedensau, Germany. My interests include ethnographic methods, traditions of help and healing among indigenous people, and issues of international social work, particularly the impact of the reunification of Germany on elders.

Joel R. Ambelang, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Dr. Joel Ambelang has had extensive experience in social work direct practice and social service administration. He received his Master of Science degree from the School of Social Work, Department of Regional and Community Affairs, University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1970.

He earned his Doctor of Education from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI in 2003. His dissertation entitled, Zuya: A Journey of Understanding Lakota Leadership Through the Life of Little Soldier studied the life and work of Alex Lunderman (Little Soldier). It is a comparative analysis of Lakota leadership. He examines contemporary Lakota leadership within the context of United States Indian policy, and traditional Lakota leadership and values. For Dr. Ambelang this was a transformational experience. It gives testimony to Little Soldier's life perspective and wisdom, truly wisdom of the elders.

Dr. Ambelang has been in full time social work education since 1992, when he became the baccalaureate social work program director for Concordia University - Wisconsin. He retired from Concordia in 2007.

Since 2005, Dr. Ambelang has been a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, teaching upper division and graduate courses in social work.




How to Cite

Voss, R. W., & Ambelang, J. R. (2016). Wo’kikso’ye!: Live and Remember. Reflections on Akicita Cik’ila, Little Soldier, Alex Lunderman (1929-2000). Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 21(2), 25–29. Retrieved from https://reflectionsnarrativesofprofessionalhelping.org/index.php/Reflections/article/view/1384