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Sherman Alexie | John Bennett Herrington | Lionel Bordeaux | Naomi Lang | Wilma Mankiller | Ben Nighthorse Campbell | Ben Reifel

Lionel R. Bordeaux

Educator Lionel R. Bordeaux was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. He was educated at St. Francis Indian Mission School and received a B.S. in history and social science from Black Hills State University in 1964. He worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) from 1964 through 1972. During his tenure with the BIA he served as an education specialist, vocational counselor, management intern and teacher-counselor. He worked in New Mexico, Texas, Washington, DC, and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He earned his master’s degree from the University of South Dakota.

While working on his doctoral dissertation in educational administration at the University of Minnesota in 1973 he was named the first president of Sinte Gleska College on the Rosebud Reservation. Much of his effort during his first years at the college was to represent the new college in various ways on the national level. These efforts included working to generate funding for tribal colleges and working with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium staff to create legislation funding for the tribal colleges. Sinte Gleska College was awarded accreditation in 1977 and later received university status.

Bordeaux has served in the Rosebud Sioux tribal government as a council member and as chair for the tribal education committee and education board. He has been a board member of the South Dakota State Education and Planning Commission and a regent of Haskell Indian Junior College in Lawrence, Kansas. He has served as president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the National Indian Education Association.

His years as an Indian educator have brought Bordeaux much deserved recognition for his accomplishments. He co-chaired the 1992 White House Conference on Indian Education. He was selected as an outstanding educator of the year by the South Dakota Indian Education Association. Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota presented him with a doctorate of Humane Letters in 1989 and he is a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Bordeaux and his wife Barbara have four adult children and he remains the president of Sinte Gleska University.