Gipp recognized as Champion of Liberty by ACLU


BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) bestowed its 2008 North Dakota Champion of Liberty honor on David M. Gipp, Nov. 15 at the group’s annual meeting in Bismarck.

Gipp is president of United Tribes Technical College. He was recognized for his lifelong commitment to the work of racial justice.

“President Gipp has been a powerful voice for racial justice and advancement through education throughout his long career,” said Jennifer Ring, North Dakota ACLU executive director. “We are pleased and honored to recognize him with this award.”

Gipp is a 1969 graduate of the University of North Dakota. He was a founding member and first president of the UND Indian Association. He has been active in opposing the use of an American Indian nickname and symbol as the college’s sports mascot.

He is Hunkpapa Lakota and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Tribe. He was associated with United Tribes during its founding 40 years ago and has headed the tribal college since 1977.

“Our work at United Tribes has always been about helping others,” Gipp said. “At its heart, this work has been about people’s fundamental rights.”

Paul Homan, Fargo, N.D., secretary and past ACLU president, presented Gipp with a crystal spire embossed with his name and the award. Homan remarked about Gipp’s courage and noted his many accomplishments.

Gipp has served on the board of the National Indian Education Association. He is a past executive director, past president, and current board member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium; past chair and current board member of the American Indian College Fund;, and current chair of the Indians Into Medicine Advisory Council through the University of North Dakota. He was past chair and current board member of the North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges. He currently serves on the Native Nations Institute policy advisory board, University of Arizona, and the Harvard Honoring Nations Board of Governors.

Gipp received the Martin Luther King, Jr. award in 1991 for his work in helping establish the North Dakota Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and served on the state commission. He served on the initial steering committee and on the Bismarck Mayor’s Human Relations Committee. He has been an advocate for the establishment of a North Dakota Human Rights Commission. He received The Chief’s Award from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Indian and Native American Programs.

Gipp established the United Tribes Tribal Leaders Summit as an avenue for tribal leaders in the region to discuss issues that affect Indian country. He was instrumental in establishing the United Tribes International Powwow which celebrates its 40th year in 2009.