Earnest (Ernie) Wayne LaPointe, a disabled Vietnam veteran, was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota in 1948.
He grew up in Rapid City, SD, with his half-sister Marlene Little Spotted Horse. Their late mother Angelique LaPointe, nee Spotted Horse, was a homemaker. His late father Claude LaPointe farmed on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and worked in a lumber yard in Rapid City.
Ernie attended the public school system in Rapid City. When he was 10 years old, his mother died of cancer. At age 17 his father died of a heart attack. He lived with his sister Marlene, who was already married at that time, until he was 18 years old and old enough to join the military in 1966. He was stationed in Korea, Turkey, Germany and all over the United States. He did one tour in Vietnam in 1970-71. He got an honorable discharge from the Army in 1972.
Ernie is a sun dancer and lives the traditional way of the Lakota and follows the rules of the sacred pipe.
On his mother’s side he is the great-grandson of Sitting Bull and Seen By Her Nation Woman, grandson of Standing Holy (Sitting Bull’s youngest daughter), her Christian name was Mary Sitting Bull, and Urban Spotted Horse. Ernie can point out a long line of chiefs on his mother’s as well as on his father’s side. His grandfather Spotted Horse was the son of Hunts Enemy and the grandson of Chief Charging Bear. His great-grandmother’s, Tokala Win LaPointe, brother was Chief Painted Horse.
In 1992, Ernie was given the opportunity to set the record straight on the Sitting Bull direct blood descendants by speaking at the induction of Sitting Bull into the Hall of Fame of American Indian Chiefs at Anadarko, Oklahoma. Since then he had numerous invitations from Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana, to speak about his heritage. He also spoke at universities in Indiana (University of Notre Dame), Michigan, Ohio and Texas (Temple University). The Monroe (Michigan) Custer Celebration Committee invited Ernie repeatedly to join and speak about his great-grandfather.
Ernie was also interviewed at a closed-circuit television station in Killeen, TX. This was broadcast in the Killeen area schools and approximately 50,000 students viewed the programming in their classroom environment in and around East Central Texas. He also gave a lecture on the Lakota culture and about Sitting Bull to a group of high school history teachers and also some college history professors in Liberty, New York.
Ernie is also a frequent guest at the Fort St. Joseph Museum in Niles, Michigan, which includes lectures for adults, and also for teenaged children in high schools. Ernie had a lecturing series in Germany and Finland at different museums and cultural centers.
During the summer time, Go Native America Tours has Ernie lecture to tourists from all over the world, and tour with them through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
The History Channel asked for assistance in two documentaries "Command Decisions" and "History Hogs" in 2004 and 2005. He also appeared on a German TV show "I bear a famous name" (Ich trage einen großen Namen) in March 2009.