Mark Joseph U’thixide Awakuni-Swetland, author and University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor, passed away Feb. 23. Awakuni-Swetland (1956–2015) was an assistant professor of anthropology and ethnic studies at UNL, where he taught Omaha language classes and coordinated the development of Omaha language curriculum materials.
UNP published his book, Dance Lodges of the Omaha People: Building from Memory, in the spring of 2008. It was the first comprehensive examination of the history and role of the Omaha dance lodges.
“I read the news of the passing of Mark Awakuni-Swetland and was taken back a few years to when I had the pleasure of working with him to publish Dance Lodges of the Omaha People,” said Tom Swanson, regional and special sales manager. “Mark was a dedicated teacher and author and someone who truly cared about the Omaha Tribe. He had a great grasp of nature and a wonderful sense of humor. He will be missed.”