OLC to Serve Students In Cheyenne River Area

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Tribal College News

Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD) has opened a college center on the Cheyenne River Reservation in Eagle Butte, SD. The new OLC center was approved in June 2006 by the regional accrediting association, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The decision is good news for residents of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation since the local tribal institution, Si Tanka University, closed last spring because of bankruptcy.

“This approval by NCA allows for students to take the curriculum that is offered at Oglala Lakota College,” says OLC President Thomas Shortbull. Cheyenne River area college students can now pursue OLC’s associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. Courses offered at the new site will principally be through adjunct instructors using two of the former Si Tanka buildings. Shortbull said they project 150-200 students the first year.

Cheyenne River Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier says, “The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is appreciative of the assistance that OLC is providing to our students, and we do have hopes that some time in the future we can reestablish our own tribal college.”

The Cheyenne River center will be OLC’s 11th center. All Si Tanka student records are housed at Northern State University at Aberdeen, SD. Former Si Tanka students who apply to OLC will transfer their records from Northern to OLC.

Oglala Lakota College has hired Carol Rave as the Cheyenne River College Center director.  Rave is a familiar face to Cheyenne River people. “I grew up with the college,” she says. Rave worked at Si Tanka (formerly Cheyenne River Tribal College) for over 20 years.

Founded in 1974, Cheyenne River Tribal College was one of the first members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). At the AIHEC meeting in March 2006, the board of directors “recognized with regret” that D-Q University (Davis, CA) and Si Tanka University were no longer members of the consortium.

D-Q was one of the six founding members of AIHEC in 1973 and the only tribal college in California. In January 2005, it lost its accreditation primarily because of financial problems. (See TCJ, Vol. 16, N.4, page 38.) AIHEC offered its support for the two colleges’ efforts to reorganize and reconstitute their tribal colleges.

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