Reifel was born in a log cabin on the Rosebud Indian Reservation on September 19, 1906. He was born to a Lakota mother (Lucy Burning Breast) and a father of German descent (William Reifel). As a college student Reifel was active in campus life. He was elected president of the Students' Association and in 1932 earned degrees in chemistry and dairy science.
Ben Reifel (1906-1990), also known as Lone Feather, was the first Native American from South Dakota to serve in Congress, representing the First District from 1961 to 1971. Reifel started his distinguished career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs after graduation. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Reifel earned a master's degree in 1949 and a Ph.D. in 1952 from Harvard in public administration. Later, he was named the first Native American superintendent of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960, Reifel served on the Agriculture and Appropriations committees. His work influenced creation of the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Data Center and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. He also was an advocate for better schools and health-care facilities on reservations.
Physical Address:1351 8th St.
Brookings, SD 57007