Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation® (CHMF) has established a partnership between Black Hills State University (BHSU) and The Indian University of North America® (IUNA) to offer higher education opportunities through a cooperative agreement.

“The students who attend IUNA are self-motivated individuals who seek new ways to grow and learn,” Steve Helmers, Chair of the CHMF Board of Directors, said. “BHSU has for many years demonstrated a special commitment to Native American students. In a creative collaboration between IUNA and BHSU, both parties will find new ways to engage students and support their individual development.”

Two summer semester undergraduate academic programs, 7TH GEN® First-Year and 7TH GEN® Upper-Level, will be offered.

The 7TH GEN® First-Year Undergraduate Summer Program teaches Native students how to best navigate the requirements of university attendance while completing their first semester. The First-Year Program recruits and accepts high school graduates who meet the program regular or probationary admission requirements, the majority of whom are American Indian or Alaskan Natives, from an applicant pool of eligible students throughout the United States. Accepted students enroll and participate in a summer semester that offers them the opportunity to earn 12 credit hours.

All students are classified as BHSU students during the summer semester and earn BHSU credit hours which are transferable to a college, university, or technical institute of the students’ choice. Students continue their studies at their chosen degree granting institutions in the fall. The First-Year Program features a rigorous academic component which includes a unique internship and structured residential experience immerse­d in Native culture. It is designed to validate and empower students while helping them foster the skills, knowledge, and habits to succeed in college and life. The inspirational story of Crazy Horse Memorial and Crazy Horse are key components in both curricular and co-curricular activities.

“BHSU is excited to partner with IUNA by offering credit-bearing classes including internships,” BHSU President Laurie S. Nichols said. “The university has a long-standing commitment to the education of American Indian students and this program will provide another opportunity to exercise our commitment. We also look forward to working with IUNA staff and the Crazy Horse Foundation Board.”

The 7TH GEN® Upper-Level Undergraduate Summer Program is available to select applicants who have successfully completed the First-Year 7TH GEN® Program of IUNA. The students are enrolled in a full-time internship (35-40 hours per week) at Crazy Horse Memorial or with other select employers throughout the Black Hills region. 

In addition to the experiential component, students in the Upper-Level Program gather once per week to discuss internship experiences and further their learning of career exploration. Students earn three BHSU credit hours, and the credits are transferable to the student’s degree granting college. Students may be second semester first-year through senior status college students, including students who may have left college and need a pathway back.

Laurie J. Becvar, President and Chief Operating Officer of CHMF, said, “CHMF is looking forward to working with BHSU to extend exciting summer semester programs beginning summer of 2022.”