Black Hills State University’s high percentage of Native American students
Colorado resident Joscelyn Blumenthal donated $10,000 to establish an endowment fund that will be used for scholarships for Native American students.
prompted Boulder, Colo., resident Joscelyn Blumenthal to donate $10,000 to establish an endowment fund that will be used for scholarships for Native American students.

Preference for theJoscelyn Blumenthal scholarships will be given to Native American students who are studying Environmental Physical Science and/or any other math or science related field.

She decided to start the endowment at BHSU after hearing about the BHSU’s high Native American student population on a public radio show. “I chose BHSU for its high percentage of Native American student enrollment, and its proximity to ancestral lands,people and culture,” Blumenthal said.  “My hope is that this scholarship will help Native American students find ways to bring their traditions’ wisdom into the field of environmental studies and provide solid career options for them.”

After reading about the tragedies Native Americans endured during the settlement of the United States, Blumenthal wanted to do something to help future generations of Native Americans obtain higher education. The goal of the scholarship fund is to integrate formal education and Native American wisdom for the benefit of the environment, she said.

“Native Americans face challenges in gaining access to a college education,” according to Steve Meeker, BHSU vice president of university advancement. “Education is a pressing concern for the Native American community.  Joscelyn’s generosity will assist Native American students pursuing their dream of obtaining a college education.”

BHSU has a Center for American Indian Studies which promotes awareness of American Indian culture, value systems, and social problems among both Indian people themselves and members of the larger society. The Center also supports two student organizations: Lakota Omniciye ("a gathering, assembly"), and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).  

The Lakota Omniciye organization promotes fellowship among Indian and non-Indian students, and organizes an annual Cultural Awareness Week and Wacipi (pow-wow) in early April that is now in its 29th year. In past years, the Wacipi has attracted as many as 3,500 persons, making it one of the larger pow-wows in the state.

AISES assists and supports Indian students who are preparing for careers in the areas of science, engineering, and technology.

BHSU annually sponsors the American Indian College Scholarship Gala which raises funds for American Indian students. The event is sponsored by the BHSU Center for American Indian Studies, the Alumni Association, BHSU Lakota Omniciye, and Inter Tribal Bison Cooperative.