Pine Ridge Extension
Community development efforts have been hampered by a lack of available
information, access to training, and collaboration among stakeholders.
Through leadership development and collaborative programming, community
visioning and both project initiation and completion could be enhanced.
South Dakota State University hosted the annual CSREES
Administrator’s Conference for Land Grant Universities in Rapid City
this past Spring. The Pine Ridge Extension Office, worked with
representatives from Oglala Lakota College, to implement a tour of OLC
programs and facilities, and some of the sites and activities on Pine
Ridge reservation. Other community collaborators included members of
the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce, the
Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, and other local businesses and
organizations. The Planning group developed themes and routes for the
over 110 participants to choose from on a visit to Pine Ridge.
Promotional materials for OLC and Pine Ridge were produced and
distributed to all 300 participants of the conference, and new websites
for OLC programs were set up for information and research.
The planning group also customized and implemented a guide-training
program for nine community members, who then functioned as step-on
guides on the busses and hosts at the OLC main campus during the tour.
One of these guides was subsequently hired as a full time cultural
interpreter with the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority at the
Badlands Visitor Center. Four others used new skills acquired in
tourism-related activities this past summer.
the tour were overwhelmingly positive about the experience—at least ten
expressed an interest to return to Pine Ridge for a more comprehensive
visit in the future. Most expressed an appreciation for the cultural
activities and information and three University representatives
initiated conversations with OLC staff on collaborative research
projects between their institutions.
The collaboration led
to other community development activities as well. Several members of
the planning group have subsequently formed a group to develop a
comprehensive environmental management plan for Pine Ridge
Reservation. SDSU has assisted OLC and Sitting Bull college in
offering a Spotlight on Leadership and Poverty through the Horizons II
project, through the Northwest Area Foundation. Still other partners
from the initial planning group have worked on community 4-H programs,
a youth financial literacy initiative, and an environmental education
and camping program.
A portion of the fees from the
Administrator’s conference paid for the cost of the tour and guide
stipends, and provided some funding for future tourism development
initiatives through Oglala Lakota College.