A Message from the Executive Director

John Beheler

Hau, Mitakuyapi – A traditional greeting from our Dakota people here in South Dakota. As we begin a new year, I hope that we can move forward with several goals in mind. First, let's plan to double the number of scholarships provided for our Native American students. Our deadline for scholarships is January 15th and we are anticipating twice as many scholarship requests.   

Our second goal is promoting economic development. We can promote local tribal artists through the purchase of an item from our new Dakota Plains Gallery and Gift shop. Every item is authentically made by Native American artist and every purchase is a contribution that we can put toward business development grants for our people.    

Our third goal must pertain to saving our culture and language. Our people have endured generations of poverty and oppression as a result of historic trauma and abuse. Today, our culture has survived but our Dakota and Lakota language remains fragile. Let's plan to increase funding for language preservation.  
Finally, let's make a goal to identify ways to save on expenses. For example, we can save on postage by encouraging people to donate on-line. More people provided an on-line gift this past holiday season than in year's past. Simply click on our "Make a Donation" page and complete the form and the transaction is processed immediately. Please call if you have any questions or need additional information.   

Pilamaya (Thank you) for your continued support as we look forward to achieving this years goals!

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About us

Dakota Indian Foundation is an independent 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation. The Foundation provides funding to individuals, groups and organizations to support a wide variety of activities directly related to social enhancement and cultural preservation of Dakota people.


The foundation opened the Dakota Plains Gallery and Gift store to support Dakota and Lakota artisans throughout South Dakota. In addition to purchasing artwork, the Gallery serves as an outlet for artisans to “tell their story” through their art.


Over the past 30 years, Dakota Indian Foundation has provided more than a million dollars in academic scholarships. Students who are of Dakota, Lakota or Nakota ancestry, and in their second year of college, may apply each semester for the DIF Academic Scholarship.


Grants are provided for cultural awareness and preservation Dakota Indian Foundation supports programs that enhance cultural lifeways and promote understanding of Native American customs and ceremonies.