Sitting Bull Headdress Returned to Tribal College

Feb 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 21-3: Tribal College Faculty, Spring 2010, Tribal College News

Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) was one of the first tribal colleges established in the United States. The tribal college celebrated 25 years of accreditation and 36 years of operation with a Founder’s Day celebration on Sept. 21, 2009.

A major highlight of the dedication program was the return of Sitting Bull’s headdress to the tribal college. In June 2005, the historic headdress was loaned to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, in part for security reasons but also to allow Sitting Bull College to complete raising funds for and constructing a new library, where the headdress will be permanently displayed.

The tribal college also dedicated its new Student Support Center. “The Founder’s Day program is a celebration of not only our new building, but it also exemplifies our cultural heritage as Lakota and Dakota peoples,” SBC President Dr. Laurel Vermillion says. We are excited about our new building and library, but it’s equally important to recognize our connection to history through Sitting Bull’s headdress.”

Featured speakers for the program included U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and North Dakota State Library Director Doris Ott, with a special video message from U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan. Other speakers for the event included Vermillion, former Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Ron His Horse is Thunder, and North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame Executive Director Darrell Dorgan.

Vermillion, an educator for 32 years, has served Sitting Bull College for the past 14 years in several administrative capacities, including vice president of academics, vice president of operations, and eventually president.

Founded in 1973, SBC currently offers seven bachelor of science degree programs and 23 associate degrees. “I think it’s important that as we make progress on our new campus that we take the time to reflect on our accomplishments,” Vermillion says. “The efforts of our employees and benefactors are truly gifts to our college that will last a lifetime.”

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