Capacity-Building Programs

Tribal College and University Traditional Native Arts and Energy/Water Efficiency Infrastructure Program

log cabin at Sisseton Wahpeton College - Dakota Tribal Arts Center

This log cabin at Sisseton Wahpeton College was remodeled to house the Dakota Studies and Tribal Arts Center on their campus on the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota.

Project Overview

The Traditional Native Arts and Energy/Water Efficiency Infrastructure Program is a three-year grant-funded through November 2018 program which supports two initiatives at 13 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in the Midwest (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

The Traditional Native Arts Infrastructure initiative will increase well-designed arts classroom and studio space for the traditional Native arts on campus through renovation, repair, and limited construction, with the goal of encouraging the preservation of traditional and endangered arts through community outreach and academic coursework.

The Energy and Water Efficiency Infrastructure initiative will reduce energy costs and environmental footprint through comprehensive energy and/or water audits to enhance energy and water efficiency in campus buildings, installing energy efficient windows, doors, lighting, low flow-usage toilets, and provide solar energy.

Traditional Native Arts Infrastructure projects are listed alphabetically below by TCU

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC) Traditional Arts Classroom Renovation


LCOOCC renovated an existing classroom to provide a space conducive to Traditional Native Arts instruction and increase the availability of course offerings. Renovations include adding a sink that allows for ADA access, updating the air flow, and adding storage. The lighting in this room was upgraded under the energy efficiency grant described in the energy efficiency section.

Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) Archive Room Renovation

LLTC will improve its local preservation methods, especially those protecting and celebrating Traditional Native Arts, college history, and tribal history. The current physical archive space is adequate in size and is in a good location for library oversight, but little of its existing infrastructure supports long-term preservation, and the library completely lacks digital infrastructure for digital preservation and content management. LLTC will renovate the space by refinishing the floors to concrete or ceramic tile; modify the window to control light exposure, refinishing the glass entry door to block out all light; and replace the particleboard with steel shelving and proper storage systems.

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) Arts Classroom Renovation


NHSC renovated an existing classroom into an arts classroom by adding shelving and storage units in the classroom, a stainless steel sink and table counter, mobile SMART board with projector and media station, and upgraded to energy efficient lighting.

Oglala Lakota College (OLC) Keeping Things From Long Ago for the Future

Oglala Lakota College Archives has long been the primary repository of a variety of Oglala, Oceti Sakowin, and Northern Plains tribal knowledge. Renovations will include obtaining appropriate storage cabinets and needed archival materials to properly stabilize these collections with mounts and supports. Other items include a light meter and a datalogger with remote sensors that will monitor light, temperature, and humidity.

Sisseton Wahpeton College (SWC) Dakota Studies and Traditional Tribal Arts Center


SWC renovated an existing structure to create a Dakota Studies and Traditional Tribal Arts Center and an archival space in the library. Renovations included installation of LED lighting, storage benches in the classroom, and a small storage shed adjoining the building. This project will help SWC develop and grow their existing Dakota Studies program, Traditional Arts Workshop Series, and archival collections into a collaborative Traditional Tribal Arts Certificate Program and Traditional Tribal Arts Center.

Sitting Bull College (SBC) Traditional Native Arts Classroom

The current classroom for traditional native art classes and community workshops will be renovated for wheel chair access. Renovations include a concrete sidewalk to the parking area, upgrades to the restroom to allow for accessibility, installation of a larger industrial type sink, and storage for art projects.

United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) Renovation of Arts Classroom


UTTC renovated an existing classroom space for Traditional Native Arts classes to increase classroom size, upgrade heating and cooling systems to allow temperature and humidity control, and provide access for students with disabilities. The project created space for a lecture area with audio visual capacity; individual and cooperative learning project spaces; and will add metal tables for cutting and pounding; wall space for display; and storage for supplies and materials.

White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC) Traditional Arts Multi-Purpose Studio

White Earth Tribal and Community College

WETCC will renovate and build an addition to an existing college owned building (Waadookoodaading“The Place Where We Help Each Other”) to establish the White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC) Traditional Arts Multi-Purpose Studio in conjunction with the WETCC Extension Service and Gizhiigin Arts Initiative (Gizhiigin), a White Earth Reservation Program. With the addition of classroom, studio, office and storage space along with the outdoor enhancements, WETCC will be able provide both indoor and outdoor classroom/studio space dedicated to Native Traditional Arts. Improvements include: 100% low-volt/low power consumption LED lighting systems; use of recyclable steel materials; use of low-flow plumbing fixtures; all windows to be triple-pane low-e high efficiency; R-40 Continuous insulation envelop system. Adequate ventilation and winterization measures will ensure arts can be completed inside during inclement or cold weather.

Energy/Water Efficiency Infrastructure projects are listed alphabetically below by TCU

Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) Energy Efficiency Projects I & II


The CCCC Energy Efficiency Project added insulation to a hallway, replaced interior and outdoor lighting with high-efficiency lights, and upgraded the college’s electrical panel to reduce the use and costs associated with lighting the campus and heating/cooling of an older section of the campus building.

CMN installed a pellet stove

The College of Menominee Nation installed a pellet stove, upgraded the lighting in the main campus building.

College of Menominee Nation (CMN) Energy Upgrades Project I


CMN’s long term goal is to become a climate-neutral campus, increasing CMN’s energy efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. CMN installed a pellet stove, upgraded the lighting in the main campus building, and upgraded the air conditioning unit.

College of Menominee Nation (CMN) Glen Miller Hall Heat & Water Efficiency Project II


CMN will decrease energy consumption and increase energy efficiency within the Glen Miller and Shirley Daly Halls by replacing old windows with energy efficient windows as well as upgrading water fixtures to reduce water usage and waste water.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) Zakizige (burn things, light things)

Fond Du Lac Tribal College logo

FDLTCC’s project is called zakizige, an Ojibwe word that means “burn things, light things” and captures Fond du Lac’s intent to create a safer, more energy efficient campus. Taking a two prong approach, the college will also demonstrate the impact targeted energy upgrades can have in an institutional setting. The college will convert existing halide parking lot lighting (and exterior building lighting) and interior lighting in the auditorium to LED, which will serve not only to increase campus safety, but improve energy efficiency; and install an alternative heating source in a demonstration greenhouse, so that sustainable growing methods can be utilized year-round.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC ) Energy Infrastructure Improvements


LCOOCC replaced the roof and insulation, upgraded lighting and the library HVAC system to improve the campus energy efficiency to reduce its carbon footprint.


Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) I LED lighting retrofit

LLTC upgraded lighting from fluorescent lighting and to LED lights in Oak and Cedar Halls.


wind turbine on the campus of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

A recently-installed wind turbine on the campus of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College is one of two alternative energy resources used to increase energy efficiency.

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) Energy Infrastructure Improvements Project

nuetahidatsasahnishNHSC replaced doors and lighting fixtures, air sealed electrical outlets, installed building vestibules, and installed the following alternative energy sources – a wind turbine and a portable solar power trailer to increase energy efficiency.

Sisseton Wahpeton College (SWC) Energy Efficiency Renovations

sissetonwahpetoncollegeTeachings about the Dakota way of life and Dakota values are at the foundation of SWC. To be respectful, responsible stewards of the land is at the heart of those teachings. Increasing energy efficiency will help the campus community fulfill its responsibilities to the Dakota way of life and set an example for the broader community.

Sitting Bull College (SBC) Energy Efficient Housing


SBC installed energy efficient windows in 18 student housing units on the campus to reduce energy costs for students.

Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) Allied Health Building Energy Retrofit

Turtle Mountain Community College

Turtle Mountain Community College installed energy efficiency improvements to TMCC’s Allied Health Building. Improvements included the installation exterior stimulated stone veneer siding, metal roofing, interior insulation, and new door.


United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) Energy Conservation Through Lighting

United Tribes Technical College Logo

United Tribes Technical College is installing LED lighting in the Skills Center. This energy efficiency upgrade will provide more effective lighting throughout the building, significantly increase safety, and reduce electric consumption and footprint.



Emily R. White Hat, J.D. (Nape Waste Win, Good Hand Woman) Sicangu (Rosebud) Lakota, of the Aske Gluwipi Tiospaye, was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Emily received her Juris Doctor degree and a Natural Resources Law Certificate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she received Clinical Honors for Outstanding Performance in the Law Clinic. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry with a concentration in Fire Science and a minor in Rangeland Ecology from Colorado State University, and an Associate of Arts degree in Lakota History and Culture from Sinte Gleska University. Her experience as a former firefighter, EMT, policy researcher, evaluator, and legal background have all been vital to her work in program development and implementation with tribal nations and colleges and using a capacity-building approach. In 2015 Emily was a receipt of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) “40 Under 40” award.

Contact Emily at 303-426-8900.