South Dakota Tribal Colleges will host the 31st Annual Conference of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) in Rapid City, South Dakota from March 24 to 27 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel. The theme this year is “Honor the Drum.”
"The cancega (drum) has spiritual significance to tribal nations," says the OLC website. "The purpose of the drum is to embrace, heal, comfort, and encourage. The Lakota, Dakota, Nakota believe the cancega is the heartbeat of the nation and represents the thunder beings. Most cultures have some type of drum."
The event is mainly for tribal college students and will feature events like academic competitions, a coffee house, a T-shirt exchange and election of Mr. and Mrs. AIHEC. A total of 22 workshops will be held throughout the event. On Saturday night, the American Indian College Fund will honor each college's Student of the Year.
The event is sponsored and hosted by Oglala Lakota College with the help of other South Dakota tribal colleges—Sitting Bull College, Sinte Gleska University and Sisseton Wahpeton Community College, says an event press release. More than 900 participants are expected to take part in the four-day event.
Keynote speakers include graduates from each of the four South Dakota tribal colleges: Dani Daugherty (Oglala Lakota College), Linda Different Cloud-Jones (Sitting Bull College), Dera Iyotte (Sinte Gleska University), and Dr. Cheryl Eastman-Johnson (Sisseton Wahpeton College).
For more information on the conference competitions, workshops and events or to read the full story of the drum, visit the Oglala Lakota College website.