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Go Tribal at South Dakota State Universities

Of the 35 Tribal Colleges and Universities throughout the country, did you know that South Dakota is home to three of them? If you were unaware of the existence of these South Dakota state universities, you're not alone. But they are thriving institutions of higher education.

Located mainly in the Midwest and Southwest, Tribal Colleges and Universities serve approximately 30,000 full- and part-time students, from young adults to senior citizens, American Indians to non-American Indians. They offer two-year associate degrees in over 200 disciplines, with some providing bachelor's and master's degrees. They also offer over 200 vocational certificate programs, and are all members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, whose mission is to support the work of these institutions of higher education as well as the national movement for tribal self-determination.

Most of these South Dakota universities are tribally controlled, meaning they are sanctioned by an Indian tribe, their governing body is comprised of tribal members, and they meet the needs of reservation people in their pursuit of higher education.

Intrigued? Discover all these South Dakota universities have to offer:

Oglala Lakota College (Kyle), one of the first tribally controlled colleges in the United States, is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. As a result of having a college on the reservation, Lakota people are now employed in nursing, teaching, human services, computer, business, and other vocational education positions on the reservation itself. The school offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, a master's degree in Lakota leadership, and professional certificates. And, lest you think technology is lacking in South Dakota colleges and universities, the school offers online courses as well.

Sinte Gleska University (Rosebud), located on the Rosebud Reservation, is all about keeping the peace. Its institutional theme? Wahope Ungluwa Sakapi Hecel Oyate Ki Wolakota Gluha Tokatakiya Unya Pi Kte, or Reinforcing our Foundation for the People to Go Forward in the Lakota Way. The centerpiece of this concept is Wolakota (peace), a term conceived during the era of intertribal wars. Tribal elders discussed behavioral rules and codes, and after years of trial and error, Wolakota was finally achieved. Wolakota means to act and behave with ultimate respect, harmony, peace, and friendship. Wolakota is an integral aspect of this university.

Sisseton Wahpeton College (Sisseton), located on the Lake Traverse Reservation, has a long history -- before America was even a nation, Sisseton and Wahpeton Bands practiced applied sciences and lifelong learning, which astounded the Europeans. Today, the college is committed to a 4C approach to education: culture, community, creativity, and challenge. The school awards associate degrees in such fascinating fields as cross-cultural counseling, hospitality and casino management, and nutrition and food science, as well as vocational certificates in licensed practical nursing, and others. Credits earned are transferable to other South Dakota state universities.

When visiting universities in South Dakota, don't forget about Tribal Colleges and Universities -- a critical component of our country's history.


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