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Relationship building a key to Wokini’s future success

Sarah Bad Warrior

Sarah Bad Warrior-Vrooman likes to meet people.

That’s good because the Larson Family Endowed Director of Wokini and Tribal Relations is looking forward to letting others know about the Wokini Initiative and developing relationships with tribal entities.

She is also focused on getting American Indian students to attend and keep them attending South Dakota State.

She knows it will be a busy job.

“I reached out to my family, sat down and had a really good conversation about what I wanted to do and how I’d probably not have as much contact with them as I’d like,” she said. “The more I talked, the more it was something I wanted to do, further the work of the Wokini Initiative. When it was offered, it was ‘OK, let’s do this.’”

Bad Warrior-Vrooman has worked in education for 10 years, last working in SDSU Admissions. She also has worked at Indian Health Services and with the Oglala Lakota College.

“One of the great parts of my position is getting in touch with the tribes, developing the connections, the relationships and building that trust with not only the tribes but also the tribal college and businesses, too,” she said. “They need to know who I am and have trust in me.

“It’s about meeting new people and being able to talk about the Wokini Initiative,” Bad Warrior-Vrooman continued. “Some have heard about it and want updates and want to learn what programs we have. Others don’t know anything about it and others think it’s only a scholarship. It’s a matter of informing and educating.”