Wichakini Owayawa at Sitting Bull College Awarded $1.5 Million Department of Education Grant

October 19, 2018



Yuliya Manyakina, Wichakini Owayawa Project Director, Lakhol’iyapi

Wahohpi/Wichakini Owayawa at Sitting Bull College,

Yuliya.Manyakina@sitingbull.edu , 701-854-8056


Koreen Ressler, Vice President of Operations, Sitting Bull College

Koreen.Ressler@sittingbull.edu , 701-854-8001


Wichakini Owayawa at Sitting Bull College Awarded $1.5 Million Department of Education Grant

 FORT YATES, ND – The Wichakini Owayawa (“New Life for the People School”) Dakota/Lakota immersion school at Sitting Bull College has been awarded a five-year $1.5 million grant under the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) program from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition. The goal of the NAM program is to “support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages while also increasing the English language proficiency and academic achievement of students served”. This is Wichakini Owayawa’s first grant from the Department of Education.

To date, students at the Wichakini Owayawa have received their education in 100% D/Lakota. The award, titled “Makhasitomni Nunpakiye Manipi – They Walk in Two Worlds”, will support Wichakini Owayawa’s expansion to grades 4-8, giving new and existing students the opportunity to continue in their progress toward high-level, age appropriate language proficiency in D/Lakota, while also receiving English reading and writing instruction.

The program aims to serve 30 students ages 5-14 who will attain academic proficiency in both languages. Families will also receive support for home literacy practices, including recommended reading in D/Lakota and English as well as English Language Learner (ELL) training with school instructors.

The Wichakini Owayawa will continue revitalizing the D/Lakota language, while promoting bilingualism and biliteracy. “We are losing the Lakota language, but we still have some fluent speakers. This grant will help bring our parents and fluent speakers together to continue saving our language. The word Wicháyukini means ‘waking them up’. That time is now,” says Michael Kills Pretty Enemy Sr., fluent speaker and teacher at the Wichakini Owayawa.

Wichakini Owayawa is a K-4 Dakota/Lakota immersion school, located on the main campus of Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND. The school started as the Lakhol’iyapi Wahohpi (“Lakota Language Nest”) immersion preschool program in 2012, and has since grown to include grades K-3 with support from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). The school’s vision is “Fluent speakers, sovereign thinkers”.

To learn more about the school visit http://www.wotakuye.weebly.com





Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Program Approved

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Program Approved

Sitting Bull College has officially been approved through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. Classes for the program will begin in the fall 2018. In addition, Sitting Bull College will continue working toward full program accreditation from the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). Koreen Ressler, Vice President of Operations is excited that the College continues to expand it Bachelor programs to meet the needs of the Standing Rock Reservation.

Sitting Bull College will offer the Social Work program through the interactive video network (IVN) system at the Mobridge and McLaughlin sites and face-to-face at the main campus in Fort Yates. In addition the College is also working with the Candeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, North Dakota to provide distance education to their region.

Students entering this program need to have completed their Associates degree in Human Services prior to application or within their last semester of their program. Interested individuals need to apply to Sitting Bull College and the Bachelor of Social Work program.

For more information you can go to http://www.sittingbull.edu or you can contact Dr. Koreen Ressler, Vice President of Operations at 701-854-8001 or by email at koreen.ressler@sittingbull.edu.

SBC Student Receives Indian Gaming Award


Sitting Bull College student Kaylie Trottier has received a Spirit of Sovereignty award scholarship from the National Indian Gaming Association.

Kaylie, as profiled in the article “works two jobs and drives 100 miles round trip to attend Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The mother of two young children, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is working on a business degree. ‘I am pursuing higher education now,’ she said, ‘to show my girls how important education is.'” We at Sitting Bull College are glad she is! Congratulations, Kaylie.

To read the full article, click or see below:



Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament 

Supports Spirit of Sovereignty

Kaylie Trottier works two jobs and drives 100 miles round trip to attend Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The mother of two young children, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is working on a business degree. “I am pursuing higher education now,” she said, “to show my girls how important education is.”
Kaylie’s road to success is made just a little easier thanks to the Spirit of Sovereignty, a National Indian Gaming Association-advised fund at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation that provides scholarships to students at 37 tribal colleges. Funds may be used for any education-related expenses, including but not limited to tuition, housing, childcare and travel. Spirit of Sovereignty also supports the Native Children’s Holiday Program, an annual campaign that provides toys, clothing and food for American Indian children.

These programs are funded by donations from NIGA member tribes and associate members and individual contributors. To help raise money for Spirit of Sovereignty, NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., is hosting the Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament during the 2017 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego. The slot tournament is on Thursday, April 13 at 1 p.m. and is being co-hosted by Everi, a NIGA associate member, in booth 1344.

There are many compelling success stories among scholarship recipients. Jonathan Ammesmaki is at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Minnesota. The 27-year-old military veteran has two children and three foster children and wants to be a pharmacist. Joedes Emerson (Northern Cheyenne & Navajo) is studying science and math at Chief Dull Knife College in Montana and dreams of a career in engineering or aerospace. Samantha Milk (Oglala Lakota) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas where she is now working on a second degree in environmental science. As a single mother and full-time student, her finances can be tight and she appreciates the scholarship’s flexibility to pay for childcare and rent.

All slot tournament winnings will be donated to Spirit of Sovereignty. The first-place winner will have the opportunity to direct $10,000 to support scholarships at tribal colleges or programs serving Native youth on the reservation of their choice. The second-place finisher will donate $5,000 with $3,000 for third. This event is a way to help students like Jerry Racine (Blackfeet) who is working on a bachelor’s degree in education at Blackfeet Community College. “At this point, the most difficult thing is funding,” said Jerry, who is using the money to cover rent, gas and other expenses. “Education is important, but it comes with a cost.”

For more information on the slot tournament, contact Mary-Charlotte Grayson: emailMCGrayson@indiangaming.org or call 202-548-3812. Learn more about the Spirit of Sovereignty at www.spiritofsov.org.


Kaylie Trottier, pictured with her daughters Rylie (left) and Paislee (center), is a Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipient who attends Sitting Bull College in North Dakota.


The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing organizations and businesses engaged in Tribal Gaming. The common commitment and purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development. For more information visitwww.indiangaming.org.

Emerging Area Seed Awardees Announced

Mafany Mongoh, Professor, Ag/Science, Sitting Bull College, is among three faculty from tribal colleges in North Dakota and the state’s primarily undergraduate institutions who are collaborating with NDSU faculty in ND EPSCoR’s Track-1 Emerging Area Seed project. The three research groups are award recipients from the recent project competition. Each award is for $25,000 to augment ongoing intellectual merit and/or broader impact components of the project and develop more collaborative efforts between the ND EPSCoR centers for sustainable materials science (CSMS) and regional climate studies (CRCS). Jiang Long, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, NDSU, is the grant’s overall principal investigator.

Other award recipients, their departments, and institutions are:

Andre Delorme, Professor, Science, Valley City State University, and Eakalak Khan, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, NDSU, the grant’s overall principal investigator.

Kerry Hartman, Dean, Sciences, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, and Dilpreet Bajwa, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, NDSU, the grant’s overall principal investigator.

North Dakota EPSCoR is a federally and state funded program designed to improve the ability of university researchers to compete more effectively for federal, regional and private research grants in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.


For More Information Contact:

Elizabeth Jung

1735 NDSU Research Park Drive

North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND 58105-5760

(701) 231-1048

SBC Takes Part in Lakota Language Weekend

Sitting Bull College staff from the immersion program as well as the Lakota Summer Institute recently took part in a weekend celebrating the language. To read more see:

Rapid City Journal: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/weekend-to-help-bring-language-back-to-life/article_f4c36e4f-e358-55cc-8285-adde878c53fe.html

El Periódico de Catalunya: http://www.elperiodico.cat/ca/noticias/opinio/llengua-lakota-sioux-pas-mes-per-recuperar-se-5026710

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Helps Fund Language Revitalization

Programs at Sitting Bull College have been hard at work with revitalizing the Lakota and Dakota languages. AICF and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have shown a commitment to these efforts with a $1.5 million grant, Restorative Teachings, for 5 colleges including Sitting Bull College. Read more here: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/30/college-fund-launches-early-childhood-education-program-five-tribal-colleges-163962