South Dakota State University plans fall leadership courses at Crazy Horse

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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The group that supervises South Dakota’s public colleges is trying a new path for encouraging success among Native American undergraduates.

It is a 15-credit program to be offered each fall in the southern Black Hills.

The South Dakota Board of Regents this week will look at an agreement that South Dakota State University seeks with Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

Officials at the Brookings university campus plan to work with The Indian University of North America at the gradually emerging statue of the Lakota warrior.

Crazy Horse helped lead several tribes to victory against U.S. Army soldiers on June 25, 1876, at what’s become known as the Battle of Little Big Horn or the Battle of Greasy Grass.

Among the U.S. troops killed that day was Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

SDSU President Barry Dunn, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, spoke in his inaugural remarks in 2016 about the need to work more closely with Native Americans.

“To navigate properly on our journey through Indian country, we must look forward across the bow of our boat toward a hopeful, bright horizon,” Dunn said. He continued, “But we must also turn around and look back across the stern, to a complex and troubled past.”

Dunn began the Wokini Initiative that fall to offer programming and support to enrolled members of the nine tribal nations in South Dakota. The next year SDSU received a $4 million gift to build a new American Indian Education Center plus $100,000 for scholarships to support American Indian students.

The university and the foundation intend to develop a 15-credit-hour leadership and sustainability program, based on Native American approaches, titled MAKA. The word means “Mother Earth” in Lakota.

The program would start in fall 2020. The regents meeting Wednesday and Thursday at SDSU.

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