Black Hills State University has been named one of the “Top 200 Colleges for Native Americans” by the editors of Winds of Change Magazine.

Four-year universities from all across the United States were considered for the listing, which appears in the 2011-2012 college issue special edition of the magazine.

According to the article, the listing “reflects where American Indians are going to school in significant numbers and where the community, Native programs, and support are strong enough that students stay to enjoy college and graduate.” Winds of Change is the official publication of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

With 5.4 percent of the total student body, BHSU has the highest percentage of American Indian students of all of the South Dakota Board of Regents institutions. The number of Native American students has grown significantly in recent years. In the 2010 fall semester, 255 American Indian students were enrolled at BHSU, which was a 75 percent increase over 2009 and more than double the 2005 enrollment of this population.

A primary resource for students at BHSU is the Center for American Indian Studies, which was established by an act of the South Dakota Legislature in 1974. The Center provides academic, cultural, and social support for Native students at BHSU and also administers the academic major and minor in American Indian Studies.

The top college recognition comes at an appropriate time, as BHSU is currently preparing for its American Indian Scholarship gala, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15. The scholarship gala is an annual fundraiser for academic scholarships for American Indian students who attend BHSU. The scholarship gala is a formal event which is open to the public, advanced ticket purchases required.

This year, the scholarship gala will feature nationally-known American Indian artist, historian and storyteller Monte Yellow Bird Sr., from Great Falls, Mont. Yellow Bird will present a keynote address and will donate an original piece of ledger art that will be made available during a silent auction during the gala.