Marcella Gilbert

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Areas of Expertise
  • Community Leadership
  • Education
  • Wellness Coaching or Consulting

Marcella comes from the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation and resides on the Cheyenne River Reservation, where her relatives live and many of her ancestors are buried. She has had a storied career as a community organizer, with a focus on food sovereignty and cultural revitalization. Her passion for fresh nutritious food led her to earn a Master of Science in Nutrition from South Dakota State University.

As the Director of Simply Smiles Children’s Village on the Cheyenne River Reservation, Marcella oversees operations, hires and onboards staff, and speaks about the Village’s approach to foster care. Previously, she coordinated Simply Smiles’ food, garden, and healthy living initiatives on the Reservation. In this role, she focused on educating youth about healthy eating, as well as the re-introduction and protection of wild native foods.

Marcella is an active member of the Waśagiya Najin Standing Strong Grandmothers’ Group, a network of Native elders and community leaders, including her mother Madonna Thunder Hawk, who advocate on behalf of environmental issues and the protection of Native youth.