South Dakota Urban Indian Health

About South Dakota Urban Indian Health (SDUIH)

Mission Statement

The goal of South Dakota Urban Indian Health, Inc. is to provide quality health care for Indian people and the economically disadvantaged or medically underserved in the urban areas of South Dakota . SDUIH promotes a balance between physical, spiritual, behavioral, and mental health for the entire family. Wellness, prevention, and medical care are provided which are essential for a healthy community.


SDUIH was incorporated in the State of South Dakota , as a non-profit corporation on October 6, 1977. Its governing body has a five (5) member Board of Directors serving in accordance with the By-Laws of the corporation.

SDUIH was awarded a contract with IHS under Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, in October 1977. The goal of that contract is to develop mechanisms which would provide for and improve the utilization and accessibility of health services by non-reservation Indians.

SDUIH was also awarded a grant from Health and Human Services to provide Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Immunization, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention and Diabetes services.

Board of Directors

Mr. Aaron Swan, Board President (Rosebud Sioux) - serves the Pierre area
Ms. Dianna Marshall, Secretary/Treasurer (Rosebud Sioux) - serves At-Large
Ms. Karla Abbott, Board Member (Cheyenne River Sioux) - serves the Sioux Falls area
Mr. Tom Livermont, Board Member (Oglala Sioux) - serves the Pierre area
VACANT - serves the Aberdeen area

Goals and Objectives

SDUIH was initially founded to provide health care to those American Indian families residing off the reservation. Those American Indians, by relocating to the urban areas have lost access to free health care provided by Indian Health Service (IHS) on the reservations. The mission has been extended over the years to include the economically and socially disadvantaged people in the communities where our clinics are located.

Health care is important to maintain family unity. At SDUIH, our goal is to provide quality health care to those families and individuals living in the communities where our clinics are located. Aberdeen , Pierre and Sioux Falls are the only locations with medical staff available to provide medical attention.

It is important to remember that SDUIH is NOT an IHS facility, although some services may be provided at no cost.

Information about the Logo

dreamcatcherFirst is the circle, which follows the general philosophy of the Medicine Wheel. Inside are the four Direction Colors. Around the circle are Tipi's which represent family (homes). The Blue represents the sky and heavens. Of course the Caduceus in the middle Is the symbol for Medicine.

The five feathers represented the Original 5 clinic site locations that SDUIH originally started with in 1977. Those sites were, Rapid City, Yankton, Pierre, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls. Of course today, the program operates two clinic sites (Pierre and Sioux Falls.)

The Medicine Wheel

medicine wheelThe Medicine Wheel is a symbol of health and well being. It symbolizes the continuing cycle of life from birth to death. The spokes of the Wheel are reminders of the four directions. The number four has always been an important part of the Indians’ culture. Each of the four directions had a color associated with it. And a prayer said to that direction.

EAST – The Color is Yellow

Yellow symbolizes the Great Spirit as the provider of all blooming nature for man to use, multiply and store for future use. The Great Spirit expects man to share his good fortune and to give verbal thanks and sacrifice in thanksgiving. The special prayer for the East is: “Tunkasila, guide us in the harvest so that we do not destroy your gifts, nor be wasteful, but be conscious of the needs of our fellow man at all times.”

SOUTH – The Color is White

White symbolizes the Great Spirit, Creator and Provider of all things. White symbolizes his purity from which came the purification ceremonies, especially the Sun Dance, Sweat Lodge, and Fasting. The prayer to the South is: “Tunkasila, we need your strength to heal us and the earth to be our friend every day. We will be patient and wait for your sign. Thank you, Tunkasila.”

WEST – The Color is Black

Black symbolizes the Great Spirit in the setting sun of light and life. Man should be conscious of time passing and ending. He should review each day and its blessings and as Tunkasila to guard him through another day. The special prayer for the West is: “As darkness overcomes us, we pray in thanksgiving for the blessings given us from the bounty of your love, Tunkasila.”

NORTH – The Color is Red

Red symbolizes the Great Spirit in the rising sun of light and life. A new day is born to sing the praises of the Great Spirit. The special prayer said to the North is: “As we pray for you to see and hear, lead us Great Spirit, and shield us from evil spirits. Thank you, Great Spirit, for all the benefits of your guiding hand. We are lost without you.”

East – Yellow – The Deer Nation

South – White- White Winged Animals

West – Black – The Horse Nation

North – Red – The Buffalo Nation