December Graduate

Valeriah Big EagleValeriah Big Eagle

Lake Andes, SD
Yankton Sioux Tribe
AIGC Fellowship

South Dakota State University
M.Ed Counseling & Human Resource
Development-Student Affairs Administration
GPA 4.0

Community Service

  • Cohort 9 Native Nation Rebuilder, September 2017-current
  • Youth VIP (Voices in Prevention) Research Advisory Board Member, April 2017-current
  • BHSU-Rapid City Native American Club (He’Sapa Oyate) Advisor, January 2017-current
  • Black Hills Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, December 2016-current
  • Volunteer Service Bank Board of Directors Secretary, February 2016-July 2016
  • T-ball Coach, Summer 2015
  • Chair of Inter-Lakes Community Action Head-start Program, 2014-2015
  • Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program, 2013-2015
  • Brookings Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, 2013-2016
  • South Dakota State University Native American Club Secretary, 2011-2012
  • SAIGES Mentor for SDSU Native American students, 2010-2011
  • South Dakota State University Pow Wow Committee, 2009-2013


My name is Valeriah Rose Big Eagle and I hail from the Ihanktonwan Oyate, land of the friendly people, from Lake Andes, SD. I am 28 years old and currently reside in Rapid City, SD, with my husband Eric and our three children: Kaymahni (9), Viviannah (6), and Kyrie (22 months). My family and I moved to Rapid City in July of 2016 and have come to love Paha Sapa, the beautiful Black Hills. I am a first-generation college student and graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in December of 2014 from South Dakota State University. I have overcome many obstacles to get to where I am today, and attaining my Bachelor’s degree was a huge accomplishment for me. Raising a family while finishing my undergrad was difficult and almost impossible at times, which makes me degree even more meaningful. My biggest contribution to my community is being a mentor to other Native American youth, helping others in higher education, or others who want to seek a college degree. My character and story are relatable, especially to those living on the reservation, because I, too, have come from the reservation and understand the struggles that we face as Native American people. I currently am pursuing my Masters of Education in Counseling & Human Resource Development with a specialization in Student Affairs Administration. I was recently invited to be a member of Chi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society for my academic accomplishments. Upon completion of my Masters, I plan to complete my Doctorate in Education and will emphasize my research on working with students from Native Nations. As the first of my family to go to college, I anticipate that by learning how to navigate the educational system all the way to the doctorate level will help others succeed.