Yellow Bird: Honoring last fluent Mandan speaker
"At UND’s 121st commencement ceremony on May 16, Edwin Benson, Mandan tribal elder, received an honorary doctor of letters degree.

Benson will now be added to the list of recipients of honorary degrees, a list that includes famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey and President John F. Kennedy. He was among some 1,500 men and women who received degrees from the university that day.

What’s special about Benson is that he has a long history as a teacher. Notably, he spent his life working toward the preservation of the culture and language of the Mandan. He has lived that culture and is the only living Mandan who is fluent in the Mandan language.

As Benson reminded me, though, there are young tribal members who are working hard to learn this once-dying language and culture. Benson also teaches Mandan to elementary children at the Twin Buttes School in Twin Buttes, N.D."

Get the Story:
COLUMNIST DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: UND honors last fluent speaker of Mandan (The Grand Forks Herald 5/27)

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