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A citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave was a national leader in Indian education and in the ongoing fight for Indigenous rights, and an inspiration to generations of students and colleagues. Through organizations including the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian College Fund, and United Tribes Technical College, through his long and determined fight to support tribal colleges, and through his wide-ranging engagement with colleagues around the world, Dave turned his realism, his “tell it like it is” attitude, and his passionate commitment to Indigenous peoples into powerful, substantive accomplishments.
We came to know Dave best through the Native Nations Institute’s International Advisory Council (IAC) on which he served for nearly twenty years, missing—in all that time—only one or two of its twice yearly meetings. Despite the numerous honors and awards he received in the course of his career, Dave’s contributions to our discussions were never about him. Instead, they focused on the practical things that needed to be done to address historical and contemporary wrongs and achieve the future dreams of Native nations in the United States and around the world.
We are much the richer for having known Dave and much the poorer for his passing. We will miss his guidance, his leadership, his wise counsel, and his compelling contributions. We extend heartfelt condolences to his family and his many friends.
~The Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona