Sitting Bull College Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to Record Lakota/Dakota Language


sbclogoSitting Bull College is launching a three-year humanities initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota Language Project will record a collection of fluent speakers of the language on the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota. Fluent speakers will be recorded in conversation, providing not just a record of the language, but history and culture as spoken through the language.  This project is an invaluable part of efforts to reinvigorate the endangered Lakota/Dakota language. Recordings of fluent speakers will form a bridge between a dwindling generation of fluent speakers and a new generation of young speakers learning Lakota/Dakota through courses, immersion programs and institutes at Sitting Bull College. The project, guided by Sitting Bull College faculty and staff in cooperation with the speakers themselves, will  provide a valuable collection of audio and video for present and future Lakota/Dakota speakers and learners to draw on at Sitting Bull College Library.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota Language Project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota Language Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence


SBC Garden feeds, educates

Click Here for the news story on the Mobridge Tribune website.

In the northwest corner of the recreation area behind the Sitting Bull College (SBC) Campus in Mobridge, is a lush garden filled with heirloom tomatoes, a wide variety of squash and beans and other vegetables. Where once kickball games were held during recess at Beadle School now stands the educational link into the traditional diet of the Native Americans that lived on the plains of South Dakota.
The caretakers of the garden are Luke and Linda Black Elk and volunteers from the staff and student body of the college. With help of a grant from the National Library of Medicine, the staff of SBC removed three layers of pea gravel, trucked in topsoil and began plotting the new garden.

“Linda is a botanist and I have always had a love of plants,” explained Luke. “I am a botanist at heart.”
He said the neighbors around the Mobridge campus have been curious about the garden and very helpful, even offering water to help sustain the plants during dry spells.
The purpose of this garden and another on the SBC campus in Fort Yates is to connect to and learn about the healthier lifestyle of the Plains people and to help students learn how to prepare traditional foods in a healthy manner. Luke said the Native American diet was a good combination of complex carbohydrates and proteins that helped sustain the people through the extreme conditions of plains life. The diet provided needed nutrition without the diabetes and high blood pressure that plagues Native Americans today.

Weather and other delays kept the crew from planting until the middle of June, but the location and soil are conducive to good growing. The tomato plants are covered in fruit that is beginning to ripen and the vines are heavy with squash, gourds and pumpkins. The caretakers recently planted fall crops of radishes and lettuce to harvest next month.
Luke said plans for next year’s garden includes using the sister mound method, which combines the corn squash and beans all in one mound of soil. This method gives each of the plants nutrients needed for growth and production of the produce.
Unlike the plant rotation method used in today’s gardening, the sister mound method provides a natural relationship that benefits the three plants.
“It is a symbiotic relationship between the plants providing sister plants with what they need to produce,” Luke said. “We want to learn why our ancestors did it that way and what makes it work.”
This year’s garden is planted with hybrid tomatoes, produced by Phil Seneca of the Onondago Nation of New York state, to resist drought. Many are not the red, round hybrids seen in stores, but yellow, pink, purple and even striped fruits. Each was developed by a Native American and has its own distinct taste and use. There are different species of the bean family (legumes) from string beans to beans that are dried for soups and other dishes.
“The purpose of the garden is to make people aware that things grown in this manner can be more healthy,” he said. “Some of the hybrid corn that is grown now has more sugar (glucose) than a candy bar. The traditional corn has much less sugar.”
He said the manner in which people eat squash today, with butter and brown sugar, takes a normally healthy food into the unhealthy category. Lessons from the traditional garden will include preparation methods that are healthier, including using squash in savory dishes and in soups.
The Black Elks also plan seed-saving workshops and workshops on preserving the fruit and vegetables grown in the SBC gardens.
This year’s produce will be given to students and staff and to anyone else who needs fresh produce.
In the future, the staff is planning to expand the garden and hold farmer’s markets for the public that will help to fund organizations at SBC.
Luke and Linda are available to answer questions about the new garden at 701-854-8044.

Sitting Bull College Awarded AmeriCorps Grant

WASHINGTON, D.C. Building on its longstanding commitment to Native American communities, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced $3 million in tribal AmeriCorps grants that will increase the number of AmeriCorps members serving tribal communities by 41 percent.

CNCS is awarding 17 grants to tribal organizations in 13 states to use national service as a solution to tackle pressing social and economic challenges. The grants will support 255 AmeriCorps members serving in tribal communities — the largest number of grants and AmeriCorps members supported through tribal grants in the past decade.

Tribal AmeriCorps members will engage in results-driven service to tackle a range of challenges, including:
On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, Sitting Bull College-supported AmeriCorps members will provide GED tutoring and testing services to students.

Please see for the entire press release.

Higher Learning Commission Approved Sitting Bull College to Begin a Master’s of Science Degree Program

On Wednesday, January 22, 2014 Sitting Bull College (SBC) was officially notified of the results of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmation of accreditation evaluation visit completed on October 7-9, 2013. The evaluation was completed by a team of four peer reviewers from various educational institutions in the north central area of the United States. As a result of this evaluation, SBC was granted another ten years of continued accreditation with the next accreditation visit scheduled for 2023-2024.

In addition, to the reaffirmation for accreditation the team recommended approval for SBC to begin to offer a Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Science. Dr. Laurel Vermillion, President of SBC indicated that this is a very significant event due to Sitting Bull College being the first Tribal College in the state of North Dakota to be approved to offer a Master’s program. The program will begin in the fall of 2014. The Science Department at SBC developed the Master’s program out of a growing need for environmental scientists who can assess environmental problems and find solutions. The new degree Master’s program would teach students the science and the management of the environment and environmental problems. Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary field and students will gain scientific knowledge of biological, chemical, physical, social, and economic components in the management of natural resources.

The accreditation team visited with Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Community Members during their 2 and a half days on campus. The team believed that Sitting Bull College has matured into a very stable, financially secure, and well managed college. It was noted by the team that SBC was able to respond to identified challenges and concerns from previous evaluations and have become stronger as a result of the monitoring over the past ten years. The team indicated that the college has leveraged all available resources to build a very impressive campus that serves the needs of its students and its community. All of these things have been accomplished in keeping with the teachings and vision of Sitting Bull, and is reflected in SBC’s adopted mission, vision and values. The team felt that SBC experiences many of the same challenges of any small college including those specific to tribal colleges, and have learned from their experiences and manage to stretch their scarce resources and relatively small leadership team, faculty and staff to meet the needs of their community.

Dr. Koreen Ressler, Vice President of Academics served as the self-study coordinator for the visit and provided the insight for the completion of the College’s self-study report addressing the five criteria for accreditation, along with the change request for adding the Master’s program. Dr. Ressler indicated that SBC’s success comes from a strong commitment for following policies and procedures and implementation of procedures to ensure institutional effectiveness.

Sitting Bull College is a tribally controlled college located on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation encompasses a vast land base of 2.4 million acres and straddles the States of North and South Dakota. The main campus is located in Fort Yates, ND with additional sites in McLaughlin and Mobridge, SD. The college has been continuously accredited since 1984. Sitting Bull College offers academic and career and technical education programs of study that consist of seven Bachelor of Science, five Associate of Arts, eleven Associate of Science, four Associate of Applied Science, and twelve certificate programs.

The Higher Learning Commission is one of six regional institutional accrediting associations in the United States. Through its Commissions it accredits, and thereby grants membership to educational institutions in the nineteen-state North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

PDF of News Release

Admissions Requirements for the Master’s in Environmental Science Program at Sitting Bull College