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7 receive Wokini Challenge Grants

Wokini Initiative: A New Beginning - South Dakota State University

The Wokini Initiative at South Dakota State University has awarded seven Wokini Challenge Grants for fiscal year 2022. The challenge grants support innovative projects and/or research projects that align with the initiative’s five-year plan goals and objectives. Grant applications are accepted in March, and all SDSU employees are eligible to apply for competitive grants up to $10,000.

Funded projects include the following:

  • Archiving oral histories by dialoguing with American Indian college graduates about hope and persistence through educational attainment (project director Karla Hunter);
  • Creating authentic connections among nurse educators and Native American nursing students through a shared cultural education experience (project director Valeriah Big Eagle);
  • Promoting global engagement at home and abroad by bringing cultures together (project director Jon Stauff);
  • Preserving written and spoken Lakota language through daily weather on the internet (project director Ruben Behnke);
  • Creating library space honoring Oceti Sakowin culture (project director Michael Gutierrez);
  • Promoting American Indian student retention and well-being through peer counseling and mentoring (project director Polly Davis); and
  • Modeling groundwater and risk assessment for the Arikaree Aquifer on the Pine Ridge Reservation (project director Lan Xu).

The Wokini Initiative prioritizes projects that focus on leadership development for American Indian students; relationship building opportunities between SDSU staff/faculty and American Indian Student Center staff, American Indian students at SDSU and/or tribal communities; preservation of Oceti Sakowin language and culture; documenting culturally respectful research practices with tribal communities and/or American Indians; and archiving SDSU’s research, Extension programs or other projects with American Indians and/or tribal communities.

About the Wokini Initiative
The Wokini Initiative is SDSU’s collaborative and holistic framework to support American Indian student success and Indigenous nation building. Ongoing collaboration between key campus and tribal stakeholders is central to the Wokini framework. The initiative builds upon SDSU’s current tribal partnerships and American Indian Student Center services to 1) enhance cultural programming and support for American Indian students, 2) offer Wokini scholarships for citizens of the nine tribal nations in South Dakota, and 3) enhance research and outreach partnerships with tribes, tribal colleges and other tribal organizations.

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