South Dakota summit on Indian education is taking shape

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Two of state government’s newest faces are looking forward to the South Dakota Indian Education Summit when it returns to Pierre this fall.

Tribal Relations Secretary David Flute and Education Secretary Ben Jones took part in Friday’s meeting of the state Indian Education Advisory Council.

Jones, who participated by telephone, said he has wanted to attend for four or five years.

Jones was dean of arts and sciences at Dakota State University before he joined the new administration of Governor Kristi Noem in January.

That month the governor shifted the state Office of Indian Education from his department to the state Department of Tribal Relations that Flute directs.

Flute, who previously was tribal chairman for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, said Friday the transiition is nearly complete.

He announced the hiring of Juliana White Bull-Taken Alive as the office’s incoming director. She is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and starts in the coming weeks.

White Bull-Taken Alive succeeds Mato Standing High, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe who was appointed in 2015.

Marta Neuman, a senior secretary for the state Department of Education, told the council she is sending about 1,000 letters of personal invitation to the three-day summit that starts September 22.

The third annual Youth Day will be September 24.  “It’s kind of a summit within a summit,” Neuman said. Features range from traditional tribal games to a college fair.

Approximately 200 students and their advisers attended last year. “It doesn’t cost the schools anything to come in,” she said.

Flute said Neuman is part of a team of several people working on the summit.

Several presenters will again focus on explaining state standards for Oceti Sakowin — essential understandings.

“We always look for a broad array of topics for people to come listen to,” Neuman said. “It’s a good resource for showing good things that work.”

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