A Career of Service
Ben Reifel’s career consisted of many years of faithful service, especially for American Indians. Because of his service, and the Department of the Interior’s Distinguished Service Award in 1961 for his exceptional career in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Reifel receives award from Americans for Constitutional Action
Reifel receiving the distinguished service award from the Americans for Constitutional Action
Distinguished Service Award
Distinguished Service Award Reifel received for Americans for Constitutional Action
Reifel receives Department of Interior Award
Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, presents Reifel with the Department of the Interior’s Distinguished Service Award in 1961.
Outstanding American Indian Award
Reifel was awarded the Outstanding American Indian Award in 1956, the Annual Indian Achievement Award by the Indian Council Fire in 1960.
Reifel's Outstanding American Indian Award
"Whereas, this honor accorded Mr. Reifel is well deserved for his activity on behalf of Indian People and for the example he is setting for other Indians…”
Robert Burnette, Committee Chairman, Outstanding American Indian Award.
Ben Reifel was active in Boy Scouts for many years. He served as president of Boy Scouts of America’s Pheasant Council, was a member of the executive committee of the North Central Region and served as chairman of an Indian Advisory committee. He also served as a member of the National American Indian Relationships Committee.
Silver Antelope Award
Silver Antelope award exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within one of the geographical regions of the Boy Scouts of America.
Silver Beaver Award
Silver Beaver award for those who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council.
Silver Buffalo Award
Silver Buffalo award for his noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth.
Silver Wolf Award
Silver Wolf award for services of the most exceptional character.
After his retirement in 1970, Ben was honored by several South Dakota colleges and universities. He received honorary doctorates from South Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota, and Northern State College.
Honorary Degree from USD
Honorary degree Reifel from the University of South Dakota in 1971.
Honorary degree from SDSU
Citation for honorary degree awarded to Reifel by South Dakota State University in 1971.
A dormitory at Reifel’s alma mater named a dormitory in his honor.
The Cedar Pass Visitor Center at the Badlands National Park in western South Dakota was renamed the Ben Reifel Visitor Center in 1990.
A Sioux Falls middle school is currently being built and will be called the Ben Reifel Middle School.
Learn more about Ben Reifel's life of service to others by diving into his papers. A large selection of the Benjamin Reifel Papers is available online through the Digital Library of South Dakota.