Cuny Named Ms. AIHEC, Decoteau as Mr. AIHECAug 15th, 2005 | By tcj | Category: 17-1: Telling Our Stories, Tribal College News
Two students were selected as Mr. and Ms. AIHEC at the annual American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Conference last April in Albuquerque, NM. Darell Decoteau (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), 39, is a student at Sisseton Wahpeton College (Sisseton, SD). Lynn M. Cuny (Hunkpati Dakota and Oglala Lakota), 26, is a senior at Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD).
Decoteau has been serving South Dakota’s Lake Traverse Reservation in one capacity or another for the past 15 years. He spent seven years in local law enforcement, where he brought the DARE program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and the McGruff crime prevention program to tribal, boarding, and public schools. He spent five years with the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise, and most recently he served as investigator with the Child Protection Program. He has also been a mentor in education programs and a volunteer with the YouthBuild Program.
Decoteau would like to teach elementary school on the reservation. He is also working on a second degree in Dakota studies. He aspires to become a positive role model for children.
“My grandmother said that you should not talk about yourself, it was impolite,” Decoteau said. “So I try to live a good life and let my actions speak for me.”
Cuny holds associate’s degrees in fine arts, Lakota studies, and early education and will soon complete her bachelor’s degree in Lakota studies with a 4.0 grade-point average. Her Lakota name means “She helps her people.”
“To me education comes first,” Cuny said. “My long term goals include obtaining my master’s degree, creating art, writing children’s books, and designing clothing. I would like to say thank you to AIHEC for this opportunity to promote quality education.”