Two-Spirit person with a ‘kindhearted’ and ‘loving soul’ killed in South Dakota

A picture of Acey D Morrison looking down as she smiles in the selfie

A Two-Spirit member of the Lakota tribe, who was shot dead in South Dakota, has been remembered for her “loving soul” and ‘using laughter as medicine’. 

Acey D Morrison was found dead with gunshot wounds in a home in Rapid City, South Dakota on 21 August after the owner of the property alerted police, according to local news outlet KELO

Law enforcement identified a suspect shortly after the shooting and have confirmed the investigation is still ongoing

Yet, few details about Morrison’s death have been released publicly, and it’s unclear whether charges have been filed despite the incident happening almost a month ago. 

Initial news coverage and reports of the incident by Pennington County sheriff’s office saw Morrison misgendered, but she has now been remembered as a “kindhearted, down-to-earth, joyous, respectful and loving soul”, in a heartfelt tribute published on Native Sun News.

The 30-year-old was described as someone who was “always there for her family and friends” and “always put a smile on others’ [faces]”.

“She used laughter as medicine and chose self-love to heal wounds,” the tribute continued. She was the one to open her home up to you, give you her lasts, then inspire you to keep going, ‘this too shall pass’.”

The obituary also characterised Morrison as a Two-Spirit person who “strived to succeed” as her “work ethic and her openness to learn was guidance to all of her achievements”. 

Morrison’s death tragically marked at least the 30th violent killing of a trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming person in 2022, according to records kept by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). 

However, this figure is likely an underestimation as such deaths often go unreported or misreported – which had been the case with reports of Morrison’s death. 

“It’s clear that Acey was loved in this world. My heart hurts for those who now must grieve her absence,” said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s transgender justice initiative. 

“We are committed to ending this epidemic of violence against gender non-conforming people.”

In 2022, the community has so far mourned the loss of the following people: Amariey Lej, Duval PrincessCypress RamosNaomie SkinnerMatthew Angelo SpampinatoPaloma VazquezTatiana LabelleKathryn “Katie” NewhouseKenyatta “Kesha” WebsterMiia Love ParkerFern FeatherAriyanna MitchellRaymond “Ray” MuscatNedra Sequence Morris, ​​Chanelika Y’Ella Dior HemingwaySasha MasonBrazil JohnsonShawmaynè Giselle Marie, Kitty MonroeMartasia RichmondKeshia Chanel GeterCherry BushMarisela CastroHayden DavisKandii ReddJasper Aaron Lynch, Maddie HofmannDede Ricks and Regina “Mya” Allen.