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Ben Reifel: Post-Congress

Post- Congress

Ben remained very active after leaving Congress. He spoke at numerous occasions such as graduations and Memorial Day services.

National Appointments

He was appointed by President Nixon to serve as the nation's first Interior Secretary for Indian and Territorial Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior. He later accepted another appointment by President Nixon as chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission which was charged with adopting, approving, or providing advice on plans and projects that impact the nation’s capital and surrounding areas.

Reifel also served as assistant to George B. Hartzog, Jr. the Director of the National Park Service. Many members of Congress supported Ben in this endeavor, and many wrote to congratulate him on his appointment. Reifel traveled to Indian reservation to meet with tribal representatives to discuss ways to develop tourism on Indian lands. He left the position in 1974.

Service to South Dakota

In 1977, Ben became a trustee of the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, SD, and served terms as their board president for 1982-1983. He established the first Native American collection at the Art Museum in 1977, donating most of his personal collection of American Indian Art Work. He later donated several Oscar Howe paintings.