Head Start Plans New Rapid City Building

Feb 27, 2014
Courtesy Rural America Initiatives

Rapid City’s Head Start program has plans for building a multi-million dollar facility for the hundreds of Native American families it serves in the area. The ultimate goal of the facility is to have a better place for future generations to learn and grow.

Bruce Long Fox is executive director of Rural America Initiatives’ Rapid City office. The non-profit is responsible for the Head Start and Early Head Start centers in the West River town, and similar locations on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation.

Lakota Water Restoration Group Goes Global

Feb 26, 2014
Courtesy Mni

 A grass roots water restoration group on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation has been named as a Global Affiliate of Village Earth. The Colorado-based non-profit helps reconnect communities to resources around the world.

It’s been two years since Candace Ducheneaux began organizing members of the Swiftbird community to start the process of restoring water to their land.

Badlands Ambassadors Visit NYC

Feb 7, 2014
Courtesy Badlands National Park

Two Lakota high school students have returned home to the Pine Ridge Reservation after acting as ambassadors for Badlands National Park during a trip to New York City.

Dwan Wilcox and Earl Lamont are part of the Badlands Youth summer intern program.

Badlands National Park spokesperson Julie Johndreau says their trip to The Big Apple was sponsored by the Calhoun School. Students from the Manhattan school have visited the park for week-long exploration camps twice since 2012.

Red Cloud Students Earn Scholarships

Feb 4, 2014
Courtesy Red Cloud High School

Six students at the Pine Ridge Reservation’s Red Cloud High School have been awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship.

That’s twice the number of students of any school in South Dakota to receive the scholarship and the most that Red Cloud has received in a single year.

The Horatio Alger competitive scholarship supports deserving young people who have overcome challenges in their lives in order to pursue higher education.

Four Bands Expands Loan Opportunities

Jan 13, 2014
Courtesy Four Bands Community Fund

A non-profit community loan fund based on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation has expanded its target market to all enrolled members of federally recognized tribes who reside in the state of South Dakota.

Prior to its expansion, Four Bands Community Fund was limited to serving clients within the boundaries of a reservation. Tanya Fiddler is the Fund’s executive director.

Courtesy Lakota Funds


A community loan fund based on the Pine Ridge reservation has received a $400,000 federal grant to assist Native American entrepreneurs on the Pine Ridge Reservation improve business skills.

Lakota Funds plans to use the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration grant to launch the Building Native Industry Institute. The 3 year initiative will deliver at least 26 business education classes to 625 participants through 11 public access points and an online learning center. 

Art Exhibit Celebrates Buffalo Culture

Nov 1, 2013
Courtesy Badlands National Park


An art exhibit honoring the buffalo and its role in the Lakota culture is the focus of various interpretive events at Rapid City’s Dahl Arts Center.

The Pte` Oyate – or “Buffalo Nation” – art exhibit explores the unique relationship between the Lakota and the buffalo that has existed for centuries.

Craig Howe is director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies. Howe says the importance of having the Pte` Oyate exhibit in the heart of the Black Hills can’t be overstated.

Masterpiece Of Lakota Sculpture Heading To Europe

Oct 23, 2013

Gaylord Torrence, senior curator of Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, is curator of the international traveling exhibition “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky.”  The exhibit opens in April 2014 in Paris and then travels to Kansas City and New York City.  Among the pieces featured in the exhibition is the Sioux Horse Effigy Stick, which also serves as the logo of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Craig Howe At The SD State Arts Conference

Sep 17, 2013

Craig Howe earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and taught at Oglala Lakota College, Washington University in Saint Louis, Grinnell College, the University of Michigan, and the University of Saskatchewan. Howe served as Deputy Assistant Director for Cultural Resources of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and Director of the D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

OST Badlands Heritage Celebration

Jul 19, 2013
Courtesy Badlands National Park


The Fifth Annual Badlands Heritage Celebration takes place Saturday at the White River Visitor Center in the South Unit of Badlands National Park. I

t’s an opportunity for non-Natives to learn about the Lakota culture and maybe eat a little fry bread.

The Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority is hosting the heritage celebration.

Spokesperson Corbin Conroy says the main purpose of the event is to bring people together.

The Legacy Of Albert White Hat

Jun 20, 2013

Wilhelm Meya, executive director of the Lakota Language Consortium, discusses the legacy of Albert White Hat, who was instrumental in teaching the endangered American Indian language to new generations for nearly four decades. White Hat died last week at the age of 74. White Hat authored several books on writing and reading Lakota, a language spoken fluently by fewer than 6,000 people. The average age of those speakers is 60, and less than 14-percent of the Lakota population in South Dakota and North Dakota - where the vast majority of Lakota speakers live - speaks their native tongue.

Lakota Host Indigenous Water Summit

May 22, 2013
Courtesy Mni Indigenous Water Summit Planning Team

Native Americans from South Dakota are leading the effort to educate the public about water conservation, land restoration and clean accessible water. Grass roots Lakota tribal members are holding a three-day water summit on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Candace Ducheneaux is the water summit spokesperson. She says their goal, is to gain solidarity among the world’s indigenous populations in combating the world water crisis and the impacts of climate change.

Lakota Federal Credit Union Grand Opening

May 3, 2013
Courtesy Lakota Federal Credit Union

The Lakota Federal Credit Union has its “official” opening today in the Pine Ridge Reservation village of Kyle. But the reservation’s first savings institution is already having a profound impact on the Lakota people.

Since opening its doors for business last Fall, 608 people have set-up accounts at the Lakota Federal Credit Union.

Spokesperson Tawney Brunsch says although it may be perceived as a contradiction in locations, a Credit Union is just what’s needed in a poor area like the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Lakota Journey For Indian Housing Returns

Apr 24, 2013
Courtesy The Trail of Hope for Indian Housing


A group of Lakota people who journeyed to Washington. D.C. to call attention to poor housing conditions on the Pine Ridge reservation has returned home.

The privately funded Trail of Hope for Indian Housing is being considered a success by those who took part in the historic event.

Lakota Music Project Concerts

Apr 16, 2013

Oboist Jeffrey Paul's Pentatonic Fantasy for Dakota Flute and Orchestra was commissioned by the Sisseton Arts Council for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra's Lakota Music Project performance at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center on Saturday.  The Sisseton Arts Council wanted something distinctly South Dakota, and since Bryan Akipa, an accomplished flute maker and Dakota Flute player, was from the Sisseton Reservation, they thought it would be a good collaboration.  Paul and Akipa visited with Karl Gehrke Tuesday on Dakota Midday.

Activist Instruction Conference On Pine Ridge

Mar 7, 2013
Photos courtesy Deb White Plume

The Pine Ridge Reservation is the place to be this weekend for those wanting to learn how to be a frontline activist. An activist training conference is being held near the village of Manderson where participants will learn how to take direct action on environmental issues.

The three day conference is to teach people how to protest projects like the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Lakota activist Deb White Plume calls it “Moccasins on the Ground.”

Kevin Locke

Feb 5, 2013

Lakota flute player, hoop dancer, and story teller Kevin Locke talks about how he learned to play the flute and how he has kept traditions alive. Kevin Locke is receiving the South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award Wednesday evening at the 2013 Governor's Awards in the Arts banquet. Locke has devoted his life to preserving and sharing Lakota flute playing, hoop dancing and traditional stories. As a cultural ambassador, Kevin Locke has performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and around the world.

Native Lawmakers Praise Justice Reform Bill

Jan 24, 2013

Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing the biggest change to the state’s criminal justice system ever undertaken.

State lawmakers in Pierre are now pouring over the Public Safety Improvement Act, or Senate Bill 70.  In part, the bill attempts to reduce the prison population by sending non-violent offenders to treatment and rehabilitation programs rather than jail.

Opening statements began Monday at a trial in Aberdeen where a former Deputy States Attorney and a child advocate are accused of misdemeanor counts of unauthorized disclosure of child abuse and neglect information; and multiple counts of subornation of perjury.

The origins of the case date back to 2011, when two Lakota girls accused their white foster parents of sexual abuse.

Attorney Brandon Taliaferro and children’s advocate Shirley Schwab assisted the girls in bringing their foster father to justice.  The man is now serving one sentence for rape of a child.

Youth Programs Preserving Lakota Culture

Dec 19, 2012

A service organization in Rapid City is working to make a difference in the lives of young people on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation. Since its founding in 2005, ONE Spirit has branched out into several different programs aiding the Lakota people. In today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Jilanne Doom focuses on an aspect of ONE Spirit dedicated to preserving their culture through creating youth programs on the reservation.