Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors are proud to call Rapid City and the Black Hills home. We step up and respectfully participate in works that bridge cultures, educate ourselves and others, and advocate and model behavior we want to see.
True leadership with the right intention and tone is changing our community. Ambassadors create safe spaces where our community shares openly. We have a desire and personal responsibility to live by example so that systemic change through leadership can take root.
The vetting process for inviting Ambassadors was critical. We wanted to make certain our selected leaders were inclusive, collaborative and resourceful. Our goal was to create a culture where the community was educated about the history, and willing to build strong relationships. We understand the value of highly respected leaders saying yes to learning and continuing to stay engaged.
In the beginning, we adopted a “not about us without us” philosophy, the reason we invited an equal number of Native and non-Native representatives. This resulted in countless connections formed to weave our community together. Leaders from law enforcement, health care, philanthropy, education, business, and strong leaders within the Native community joined the group. These leaders entered the arena as equals in decision making and ownership as we seek ways to address the issues.
Our two spokespersons are representative of our Native/non-Native balance. Marnie Herrmann is a non-Native banker and business leader and Whitney Rencountre is a Native mentor, educator, and cultural leader. They represent MOA as communicators of our work. When they are challenged to respond to tough situations, they do so through joint decision-making. This results in a balanced interpretation of our position.
As Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors, we are working toward the goals we set, and going out into the community together to share understanding as advocates for cultural knowledge and awareness.
Meet the Ambassadors
Forty individuals from our community have stepped up to become Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors. Meet some of them by clicking on their photos below.