Lakota Country Times: Tribal citizens named to education board

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Lakota Country Times editor. All content © Lakota Country Times.

Stacy Phelps, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who serves on the South Dakota Board of Education, is one of the new members of the Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council. Photo from Black Hills Faces Magazine

Tribal citizens named to new education board
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times editor

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced members of the Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council.

The Governor issued an executive order establishing the council in February. The council will work to identify strategies for improving achievement and graduation rates among South Dakota’s Native American students and report its findings to the Legislature and the Governor by Dec. 1, 2015.

“Native American students in South Dakota attend public, non-public, tribally operated and Bureau of Indian Education schools,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Thus, the responsibility for providing them educational opportunities is shared among individuals and local, state, tribal and federal governments. I am confident this group will help us move forward with a common vision for ensuring their success.”

The Bush Foundation will be funding the council’s work. The Bush Foundation is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and serves the 23 Native nations and the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Improving educational achievement among Native American youth will drive growth and prosperity in both South Dakota and the Native nations that share the same geography. We are proud to support this important collaboration between state and tribal leaders. Together, they can lay the foundation for innovative and exciting efforts to increase educational opportunities for Native youth,” said Bush Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy.

The council’s first meeting is slated for April 28-29 at the Capitol Lake Visitor Center in Pierre.

The board is comprised of tribal members from around the area and includes a who’s who of Native American community leaders. The list includes: Dr. Roger Bordeaux (Mission), Rep. Shawn Bordeaux (Mission), Beau LeBeaux (Porcupine), Tuffy Lunderman (Mission), Maurice Twiss (Batesland), Larry Mendoza (Eagle Butte), Stacy Phelps (Rapid City), Nick Tilsen (Porcupine) and multiple others.

The Bush Foundation has invested heavily in Indian Country with their Native Nation Rebuilders program and through awarding grants to Native American Bush fellows for work they are doing in Native communities.

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