Tag Archives: Oglala

Thunder Valley CDC | Nick Tilsen

“We were never afraid to admit what we didn’t know…But we did not fear to dream big…it is your right to dream big bold visions about your future, and your right to pursue those visions.”-Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation.

The Birth of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is doing some incredible work on Pine Ridge. And Nick Tilsen is the Executive Director of the organization.

Thunder Valley

Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Thunder Valley was created after Nick and others were scolded by some ancestors during a sweat. They had been complaining about the way the rez is. The ancestors challenged them: “how long are you going to let other people decide the future for your children. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Don’t come from a place of fear, come from a place of hope.”  And with that, Thunder Valley CDC was created, named after a spiritual circle on the reservation.

Nick Tilsen is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota. When he was five years old, his parents separated and he moved to Minneapolis with his father. He went from a predominantly Native American school district to a school where no single group made up more than 20 percent of the population. But no matter how long he lived in Minnesota, he knew his home was Pine Ridge. Continue reading

Stacey Ecoffey | Life Gets Better

“Life gets better…Things get much better… if you can get through that hard stage… Life, love, happiness, everything gets a whole lot better…”-Stacey Ecoffey

Stacey Ecoffey’s Journey

Stacey Ecoffey is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota. She grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Pine Ridge. She is currently the Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stacey Ecoffey

Stacey Ecoffey, Oglala Lakota

Growing up, horses were a big part of Stacey’s life. Her grandfather always had her on a horse, and she found horses to be a big stress relief. She attended rodeos. She also enjoyed school

Stacey Ecoffey attended Colorado State University. She earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Native American studies. Her school was far enough away that she could be in her own world, but close enough to home that the self-described “rez girl” could get home to visit family, too.

She thought she would return home to work for the tribe, but decided to attend graduate school before coming home. So she attended Boston College and earned her Master’s Degree in social work. Continue reading