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Porcupine School
Porcupine School
Black Hill Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - Education & Training

Pine Ridge School

Pine Ridge is home to the Pine Ridge School District, which served 805 children in kindergarten through grade twelve in 2015. Students come from a 311-square-mile radius, which includes the towns of Batesland, Porcupine, Manderson, Oglala and Kyle.

The school, originally called the Oglala Indian Trading School, was established by the United States Government on Feb. 8, 1879. The original building burned down in 1893 and the school was rebuilt in 1897.

In 1995, a new school was constructed on the west edge of city of Pine Ridge. It includes K-12 classrooms, a boys and girls dormitory and a dining facility. The Pine Ridge School is operated by the Bureau of Indian Education.

Its current principal is Michael Carlow, (605) 867-5198, [email protected]

Red Cloud Indian School

Also located in Pine Ridge, the Red Cloud Indian School was founded as Holy Rosary Mission in 1888 by a group of Jesuits and Franciscan Sisters. The mission school enrolled 100 students very quickly after its establishment. The school was divided into three classes for the young children, the older girls and the older boys. The older children learned reading, writing and math, but also helped with domestic work.

In 1937, the first Red Cloud High School began classes. Thirty-two years later in 1969, Holy Rosary Mission was officially renamed Red Cloud Indian School - named for Chief Red Cloud, a Lakota leader who organized the founding of the original mission/school.

In 2015, Red Cloud Indian School enrolled 554 students in pre-kindergarden through grade 12.

Red Cloud Indian School is also home to The Heritage Center, a collection of American Indian fine art.

The school is operated by:

  • President - Fr. George Winzenburg, S.J.
  • Executive Director of Advancement Operations - Tashina Rama
  • Executive Vice President - Robert Brave Heart Sr.
  • Vice Pesident for Finance - Angie Eagle Bull
  • General Counsel - Jane Farrell
  • Superintendent of Schools – Walt Swan
  • Vice President for External Affairs - Colleen McCarthy
  • Director of The Heritage Center – Mary Maxon

Oglala Lakota County School District

The Oglala Lakota County School District includes the following schools:

Batesland School – This is a preschool through eighth grade school located in Batesland. Total enrollment for the school was 208 for the 2015 school year. principal is Connie Kaltenbach, who can be reached at (605) 288-1948.

Red Shirt School - This preschool through eighth-grade school is located outside of Hermosa. The total enrollment for the school in 2015 was 87. The principal is Jennifer Sierra, (605) 255-4224.

Rockyford School - This school is located in Porcupine and serves students preschool through eighth grade. Enrollment for the school in the 2015 school year was 405. Principals are Barb White and Monica Whirlwind Horse. They can be reached at (605) 455-6300.

Wolf Creek School - This school is located east of Pine Ridge and serves students in preschool through eighth grade. 608 students attended the school in 2015. Principals are Jeannine Metzger and Darrell Eagle Bull, (605) 867-5174.

Oglala Lakota Virtual High School  - This virtual school allows students to complete the requirements for their high school diploma online. All courses offered through the virtual school are approved by the South Dakota Department of Education. 119 students were enrolled in the school in 2015. Melvin Sierra is the school’s principal, who can be reached at (605) 685-8905.

The Oglala Lakota County School District Board of Education meets at 5:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the various schools throughout the district. Agendas can be accessed on the district's website. Elections are held annually on the second Tuesday in May. The current school board is:

  • Bryan Brewer Sr., president, term 2016-2019, (605) 288-1921
  • Robert Two Crow, vice president, term 2016-2019, (605) 288-1921
  • Mike Carlow, board member, term 2014-2017, (605) 288-1921
  • Angie Eagle Bull, board member, term 2015-2018, (605) 288-1921
  • Dr. Richard Zephier, board member, term 2015-2018, (605) 288-1921

Tribally-Controlled Grant Schools

There are six tribally-controlled grant schools in Pine Ridge. Established through Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988, these schools apply for formula grant funds to administer their schools under the direction of their own school boards.  

American Horse School is a kindergarten through eighth grade school located in Allen, SD. In 2015, the school enrolled 286 students.

The school’s current superintendent is Gloria J. Coats-Kitsopoulos. The school can be reached by calling 455-1209.

(Tasunka Witko Owayawa) (Crazy Horse School) serves students in kindergarten through high school. It enrolled 283 students in 2015. Superintendent Silas Blaine can be reached by email at [email protected].

School Board Members are: 

  • Annie Janis, Chairwoman
  • Collene Bettelyoun, Vice Chairwoman
  • Avril Livermont, Member
  • Mike Marshall Sr., Member
  • Wayne Randall – Member

Taopi Cikala Owaya (Little Wound School) is a preschool through grade twelve school located in Kyle, SD. In 2015, the school enrolled 747 students.

The Little Wound School Board meets the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. to hear public concerns. The board meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of each month to discuss budget issues.

Board members are:

  • Cecelia Fire Thunder, chairperson
  • Lance Christensen, vice-chairman
  • Tiger Brown Bull, member
  • Taylor Little Whiteman, member

The school’s superintendent is Charles Cuny Jr., 605-455-6174.

Isna Wica Owayawa (Loneman School) is located in Oglala, SD. Isna Wica Owayawa is a kindergarten through eighth grade school and enrolled 243 students in 2015. The school can be reached at 605-455-6875.

Pahin Sinte Owayawa (Porcupine School) is located in Porcupine, SD and enrolled 197 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade in 2015. To contact the school, email [email protected]  or call 605-867-5588 Ext: 201.

The school is funded by the Bureau of Indian Education and operated by the tribe throught a contract.

Wounded Knee School is located in Manderson, SD.  In 2015, he school enrolled 130 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

To contact the administrative offices, call (605) 455-6350.

Higher Education

Oglala Lakota College

Oglala Lakota College, located in Kyle, was created in 1971 with a mission to “provide the educational credentials to our students so that they could compete for employment opportunities on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.” The school offers classes and degrees in such areas as business, social work and nursing.

Oglala Lakota College is a North Central Accredited college.

The school’s governing body is made up of tribal members. The board of trustees is:

Representatives of the Oglala Sioux Tribe:

  • Emma Featherman-Sam, OST President Representative
  • Alice Perkins, OST Education Committee Representative

Representatives Elected by Districts:

  • Dennis Brewer, Pine Ridge Village
  • Pete Red Willow, Eagle Nest
  • Bennett Sierra, East Wakpamni
  • Newton Cummings, LaCreek
  • Anthony Wounded Head, Pahin Sinte
  • Pheobe Tallman, Pass Creek
  • Denise King-Red Owl, Pejuta Haka
  • Warren Cross, White Clay
  • Willene Kills Enemy, Wounded Knee
  • Rebecca Lone Elk, Student Representative
  • Gerald One Feather, Council of Elders

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