Valeriah Big Eagle

Yankton Sioux Tribe
Areas of Expertise
  • Communications

Valeriah Big Eagle, Wakan Wocekiye Win (Sacred Prayer Woman), is an enrolled member of the Ihanktonwan Oyate and currently serves on the Title VI Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Education Task Force for Rapid City Area Schools. She received both her Baccalaureate in Sociology and her Master of Education from South Dakota State University. In addition, she received her Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from the University of South Dakota, specializing in Adult & Higher Education Administration. She understands the inequitable challenges that indigenous students face in education systems due to lack of cultural understanding and systemic racism, especially if they are in settings with little support for their cultural identity. She studied healing-informed practices in education that support Indigenous students and hopes to influence programming and public policy initiatives to culturally support indigenous students, resulting in an increase of indigenous graduates from high school, college, and beyond. Some of her accomplishments include being selected for Prairie Business Magazine’s “40 Under 40” Award, the F.O. Butler in Excellence for Community Service Award, and for serving as a 2020 Bush Fellow. She also participated in various leadership programs including: Leadership South Dakota, Native Nation Rebuilders, Rapid City Collective Impact Emerging Leaders, and Leadership Rapid City.