News from the Great Plains

David Melmer
4/30/07

Gipp to be honored for 30 years of service to UTTC

BISMARCK, N.D. - David Gipp will be honored for his 30 years of service to United Tribes Technical College at a reception scheduled for May 2.

He is only the third person to lead the college since the college's founding in 1969. Gipp became the executive director in 1977. The title was change to president later.

Under Gipp's leadership, the college has grown to one of the largest tribal college in the nation. He has overseen millions of dollars in improvements to the college, including a Skill Center, co-ed solo dorms, Childhood Development Center, the Jack Barden Student Life and Technology Center, the Itancan Leadership Lodge, the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center and family student apartments, according to a press release.

Gipp is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in political science and worked for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as a development planner. He was the only American Indian member of the North Dakota Constitutional Convention.

He also served as the first executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

The reception will be held at 2 p.m. at the Jack Barden Student Life and Technology Center on the UTTC campus.

Fort Berthold oil and gas revenues to be shared

NEW TOWN, N.D. - A bill in the North Dakota House would give the governor the authority to negotiate revenue shares for oil and gas on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The intent of the bill is to jumpstart oil drilling activity on the reservation.

Uncertainty on regulation and taxation on the reservation has prevented oil exploration in the past.

The BIA has published a notice in the Federal Register of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for a clean fuels refinery. The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation proposed that 468 acres be taken into trust for the refinery.

The MHA Nation plans to construct the petroleum refinery that will process 10,000 barrels of synthetic crude piped in from Alberta, Canada. The refinery, according to tribal officials, will be the most technologically advanced refinery in the nation.

It is not known whether oil extracted in the future from the reservation will be refined at the proposed facility.

Garden blessed on the Cheyenne River Reservation

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. - The growing season is about to begin on the Cheyenne River Reservation. A two and one-half acre plot operated by the Cheyenne River Youth Project was blessed and is now ready for planting.

The garden provides organic vegetables for healthy living used in the elder nutritional program and for the CRYP program menus.

The garden received an official name: Winyan Toka Win, or ''Leading Lady,'' in honor of the elder who founded the garden, Iyonne Garreau.

Garreau is the executive director of the Cheyenne River Elderly Nutrition Center, a position she has held for three decades. She came up with the idea for a community garden when some elders mentioned to her that they would like to have some traditional foods.

''They talked a lot about squash; they really were hungry for that and wanted traditional foods,'' she said.

Garreau said she has always had the vision of Native food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture.

Cheyenne River was one of the first reservations to have a community garden. Since over the years it became more difficult for the elder nutritional program to maintain the garden, that job has now been turned over to the youth and volunteers of CRYP.

College students will converge on the reservation in May to prepare the garden.

Little Wound receives basketball awards late

KYLE, S.D. - The Little Wound Mustangs, South Dakota's runners-up in the state Class A basketball tournament March 17, have finally received their awards. Team members, led by adults, walked out of the arena after their loss to the St. Thomas More Cavaliers in the tournament. Many Mustangs supporters in the stands continued to complain about the officiating; after the final buzzer, the fans walked out and the team did not return to the floor to receive their awards.

Controversy continues to fall on the Mustangs. Some people are calling for disciplinary action against the coach, Jamie Feather Earring, who has been silent during the entire ordeal.

The coaches made the decision to leave the floor and arena, but some of the players returned to congratulate the winning Cavaliers. The Mustangs defeated the Cavaliers for the championship title at the Lakota Nation Invitational in December.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association placed the Little Wound School on a one-year probation.

The Mustangs were ranked in the top five teams in Class A throughout the basketball season.

Business leaders honored for vision and dedication

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. - Tanya Fiddler, executive director of the Four Bands Community Fund on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, and Rob Laurenz, owner of Dakota 2000, a technology company, recently received leadership awards from the Small Business Administration.

Both are members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Laurenz was given the SBA's Minority Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota. Fiddler was named the SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year for South Dakota and SBA Region VIII.

Both recipients sit on the board of directors for the Four Bands Community Fund and are part of the fund's ''Two Million and Ten by 2010'' campaign to support financial literacy and small-business development on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

''We want every child to examine entrepreneurship as a career option and expand their financial literacy skills before they leave high school,'' Fiddler said.

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