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News Release

Black Hills State University

At Black Hills State University, the student organization Lakota Omniciye will honor Native American culture by hosting their annual American Indian Awareness week April 8-12 featuring daily speakers and the 36th Annual Wacipi.

The theme for this year’s celebration “American Indian Women: The Backbone to Building Resilient Leaders.” Members of Lakota Omniciye selected the theme to honor of Native American women and the knowledge and wisdom they provide to local communities, according to junior K’Dyn Newbrough from Eagle Butte.

Newbrough is an exercise science major at BHSU and has been involved in Lakota Omniciye for three years, serving as president of the organization the past two years. “Conversations will not be limited to Native American women’s issues alone, but will include all aspects that pertain to American Indian culture and history including women’s roles in our society,” she explains.

A series of speakers will present throughout the week to several American Indian Studies classes. All presentations are free and open to the community.

Speakers include:

  • April 9: Jace DeCory, “Unci Maka Tells Her Story” | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Jonas 102
  • April 9: Lily Mendoza, “MMIW: Why Are Our Sisters Missing?” | 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. | Jonas 107
  • April 10: Molina Parker, “Customary Practices” | 9 – 9:50 a.m. | Jonas 107
  • April 11: Kim Tilsen-Brave Heart, “Indigenous Entrepreneurship” | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Jonas 102
  • April 11: Tiarra Little, “Being a Good Relative: Sharing Processes in Creating Sustainable Community-Based, Community-Led Indigenous Schools” | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m | Jonas 307
  • April 11: Beverly Warne, “The Life and Lessons of a Lakota Nurse” | 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. | Jonas 107
  • April 12: Cecily Engelhart, “Indigenous Filmmaking and Arts Ecosystems” | 9 – 9:50 a.m.| Jonas 107

“The importance of these discussions is to inform and raise awareness of Indigenous issues in Spearfish and surrounding communities,” explains Newbrough.

The 36th annual Wacipi (Powwow) is one of the highlight events each year. Held the last two days of the Black Hills State University American Indian Awareness Week, the powwow brings in a large crowd.

The Wacipi session Friday, April 12 begins at 7 p.m. while the session Saturday, April 13 is at 1 p.m. Children under 5, seniors 55+, and students and staff at Black Hills State University with an ID receive free admission to the Wacipi. A day pass is $6 or weekend passes are available for $10.

There will be $8,000 available in dance prize money and the annual free buffalo feed during the Saturday session.

The American Indian Studies program at Black Hills State University gives students a vivid understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of the American Indians. Students are exposed to the Lakota language, opening a window to the American Indian culture. Through coursework and experience, students learn about tribal law as well as economic and government issues facing the American Indian people. Students are introduced to a wide variety of career opportunities on the reservations of South Dakota and across the United States. Great job potential lies in American Indian economic development, education, resource management, human service, government relations, and tourism.

For more information visit or contact Dr. Urla Marcus, director of American Indian Studies at or 605-642-6578.