To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Reifel
Portrait of Ben Reifel.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Dakota's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1971
Preceded byGeorge McGovern
Succeeded byFrank E. Denholm
Personal details
Benjamin Reifel (or Lone Feather)

(1906-09-19)September 19, 1906
Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
DiedJanuary 2, 1990(1990-01-02) (aged 83)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Nationality Rosebud Lakota
 United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)1) Alice Janet Johnson (m. 1933, d. 8 February 1972) 2) Frances Colby (m. 14 August 1972)[1]
ChildrenLoyce Nadine Reifel
ResidenceEstelline, South Dakota and Largo, Florida[1]
Alma materSouth Dakota State College, B.A. (1932)
Harvard University, M.P.A. (1949); Ph.D. (1952)[1]
ProfessionFederal civil service

Benjamin Reifel, also known as Lone Feather (September 19, 1906 – January 2, 1990) was a Lakota Sioux public administrator and politician. He had a career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, retiring as area administrator. He ran for the US Congress from the East River region of South Dakota, and was elected as the first Lakota to serve in the House of Representatives. He served five terms as a Republican United States Congressman from the (now obsolete) First District.

Born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Reifel graduated from South Dakota State University. During World War II he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. He worked for the Department of the Interior beginning in 1933, retiring as the Aberdeen, South Dakota area administrator of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in March 1960. Awarded a mid-career fellowship in public administration to Harvard University for a master's degree, he went on to earn his PhD in 1952. Elected to the Eighty-seventh Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1971), Reifel chose not to run in 1970.[citation needed]

Early life and education

Reifel was born in a log cabin[2] near Parmelee, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He was the son of Lucy Burning Breast, a Lakota Sioux, and William Reifel, of German descent. Ben Reifel was enrolled in the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and his Indian name means "Lone Feather" in English.[citation needed] He attended a Todd County school as well as the Rosebud Reservation boarding school as a child.[2] He graduated at the age of sixteen from the eighth grade, speaking both English and Lakota.

For three years Reifel worked on his family's farm before entering the School of Agriculture, a vocational high school in Brookings, South Dakota. After finishing high school in 1928, Reifel enrolled at South Dakota State College.[2] He paid his own tuition for his first four years of schooling. He took out one of the first loans offered to Native American students under a Merriam Report-recommended Indian education program. Reifel graduated with a B.S. in agriculture in 1932. He was elected the President of the Students' Association during his senior year.


Following his graduation in 1932, Reifel was hired by Hare's School in Mission, South Dakota as an adviser for boys. He began working at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1933; he was assigned to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as a farm agent to the Oglala Lakota.[2] After a year, he was promoted to field agent at the Pierre, South Dakota regional headquarters.

Reifel's duties included promoting the new programs of the Indian Reorganization Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Allotment of reservation lands was ended, to enable tribes to hold communal lands and better preserve their territories. Under the new law, tribes could reorganize self governments. They were encouraged to write constitutions and to use models of elected government proposed by the BIA, rather than the life chiefs previously supported by the clans.

The American Indian people had endured hard times during the Great Depression, as well as the drought that caused Dust Bowl conditions in some parts of the Great Plains. Reifel was largely successful in garnering support for the Act. He started at Pine Ridge and later made his way to other reservations in South Dakota, ensuring that the programs of the Bureau were effective in the South Dakota reservations.

World War II

Reifel's BIA career was interrupted by World War II. In 1931, he had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. In March 1942, the Army ordered Reifel to active duty, and he served until July 1946. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[2]

Postwar career

After being discharged, Reifel continued working for the BIA. He was selected as a Tribal Relations Officer and later promoted to the position as Superintendent of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.[citation needed]


In 1949 Reifel was awarded a scholarship to study public administration at Harvard University under a Civil Service Commission program for management development of career government officials. He earned his master's degree in 1949.[1] He received a John Hay Whitney Foundation Opportunity Fellowship and completed his Doctorate in Public Administration in 1952.[1] Following his graduation, Reifel returned to the BIA.

He worked briefly at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. before returning to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation as Superintendent. Reifel later served as Superintendent at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.[2]

In 1955 he was promoted as the Area Director of the Aberdeen Area Office in Aberdeen, South Dakota.[2] He was responsible for numerous employees and the application of federal programs and policies for American Indians of a three-state region: Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. He served as administrator up until three years before his retirement.[citation needed]

Political career

Ben Reifel (Rosebud Lakota), U.S. Representative from South Dakota's 1st Congressional District, 1961–71.
Ben Reifel (Rosebud Lakota), U.S. Representative from South Dakota's 1st Congressional District, 1961–71.

In 1960, Reifel retired from the BIA and ran for Congress in South Dakota's 1st congressional district. At the time it included all of the counties east of the Missouri River, or East River. (The district was redrawn in 1931 to include 21 counties in the southeast part of the state.[3]) Reifel was elected by a substantial margin; he was the first person of Lakota or Sioux descent to serve in the US Congress.[2] During the 1960s, he was the only American Indian in Congress. He served for five terms as Representative from South Dakota.[2] Regarded as a "conservative Republican," he was a thinker who prepared himself well on legislative matters.[citation needed] He could always give a substantial and thoughtful basis for his stand on issues.

In Congress Reifel held several committee assignments. In his first term, he was appointed to the House Agricultural Committee; in his second, to the House Committee on Appropriations. He served as the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee on Interior Department Affairs. He worked hard for farming interests in South Dakota and the Plains states in general, opposing cuts in farm support programs, pushing the Oahe Dam to supply water for irrigation, and similar matters.

At the same time, he continued to work vigorously for American Indian education, with significant accomplishments. Opposing segregation, he believed that the key to ending the isolation of the Native American people was in educational programs that enrolled American Indian and non-Indian students together in modern progressive facilities (as was recommended by the 1928 Merriam Report), rather than keeping children in Indian-only boarding schools. Reifel supported the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and an increase in the minimum wage.

Reifel was instrumental in getting the Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) of the US Geological Survey located in South Dakota. In addition, he gained support to keep Ellsworth Air Force Base as an active military base in the state.[2] On a broader national level, he was instrumental in securing passage of legislation to create the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Arts Council.[citation needed]

In 1970 Reifel decided not to seek reelection. While he intended to retire in 1971, he remained active, accepting an appointment by President Richard Nixon as chair of the National Capital Planning Commission, which has oversight over federal projects in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He next served as Special Assistant for Indian programs to the Director of the National Park Service in the Department of the Interior. He also served as Interim Commissioner of Indian Affairs during the last two months of the Ford administration.

Later years

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Reifel was a member of the Masons, Rotarians, and Elks. He also served on the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church and the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He also served as national president of Arrow, Inc., a Native American service organization.

In 1977, Reifel became a trustee of the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings. He served terms as the board president in 1982–83. He established the first Native American collection at the Art Museum in 1977, donating most of his personal collection.[citation needed]

Legacy and honors

Marriage and family

On December 26, 1933, Reifel married his college sweetheart, Alice Janet Johnson of Erwin, South Dakota. They had a daughter, Loyce Nadine Reifel. She married Emery Andersen. Alice Reifel died of pneumonia on February 8, 1972.

Ben Reifel remarried on August 14, 1972 to Frances Colby of DeSmet, South Dakota. He died of cancer on January 2, 1990.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ben Reifel", Biographical Directory of the US Congress, accessed 17 August 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j AP, "Ben Reifel, 83, Dies; Former Congressman", New York Times, 4 January 1990, accessed 16 August 2011
  3. ^ Official Congressional Directory, 73rd Congress (1933)

External links

  • United States Congress. "Ben Reifel (id: R000152)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • "Benjamin Reifel Papers", Archives, Library of South Dakota State University
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George McGovern
United States Representative for the 1st Congressional District of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Frank E. Denholm
This page was last edited on 12 October 2020, at 13:58
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.