Virtual Lakota Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability & Indigenous Rights

Learn about the culture, traditions and contemporary issues of the Lakota during this 3-credit virtual program. You will get a feel for its past, present and future. Students in this course will engage with local natives about their day-to-day life, culture and work on community-driven service-learning projects during this remote program


Projects may be related to environmental sustainability, agricultural initiatives, programming on youth and education, cultural learning and indigenous rights. Students of all majors are welcome to apply. This program is ideal for any student interested in history, politics, environmental studies and anthropology. You should be flexible, patient, hardworking, open to new cultures and professional in delicate community situations.


This course will take place remotely. You can expect to invest the same amount of hours as a typical course on campus. The course will be a blend of live guest lectures with natives, recorded modules on fair-trade service-learning philosophy, and community engaged project time. 




What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • Regional expertise and awareness of diverse perspectives
  • Skills for community driven civic and global engagement
  • An understanding of Oglala Lakota Life and current issues
  • Lakota's history and relationship with the United States

No travel is involved, and there is no additional cost for you.

What You'll Study: 

You'll earn a total of 3 credits on the Lakota Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability and Indigenous Rights course. The course will be facilitated by Pitt professor Delanie Jenkins, but will also be comprised of guest lectures from local natives and others living on the reservation, talk from community partners, virtual cultural activities and community-driven service projects.  


In this course you will study:


  • Indigenous peoples' history of the United States, including colonization, land rights and environmental justice
  • Water equity issues, indigenous peoples' relationships with their environment, and the ecosystems that shape their sacred worlds
  • Oglala Lakota life, from culture and family to land use, arts and food


If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your adviser to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you. Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here


Lakota Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability & Indigenous Rights (XXXX)

This course will introduce you to historical and current issues that the Lakota natives have faced and continue to manage on a day-to-day basis. The focus will be on the environmental, historical, geographical, land rights, political, economic issues and indigenous rights. Students will learn through lectures, guest lectures from locals and interaction with natives.

Experiential Learning Description: 

Our partner on this program, Amizade has a emerging relationships with a network that engages in agricultural initiatives, programming on youth and education and cultural learning. Community partners include:


Pine Ridge Agricultural Initiative: This is a group of organizers and Lakota elders dedicated to ushering in a sustainable future for the health and wellbeing of the Oglala Lakota people. Currently, they are working to establish an organic farm, education and resource center on Poor Bear family land near Allen, SD. They are also constructing greenhouses; fencing off the gardens from grazing cattle and wild animals; drilling a well for irrigation and drinking water; cultivating the soil with organic fertilizer; sowing seed and tending crops; purchasing and feeding livestock; constructing a community building and purchasing a delivery van to bring the food to the people


Local Community Members and Residents: Projects may also include serving with local community members to assist local residents with home repairs or improvements to family-land and farms. This service is regularly tied to community members who cook for visiting groups, provide demonstrations, and teach about traditional Lakota practices. These service projects not only provide much needed assistance to community members but also act as opportunities for participants to learn about culture and the ways of life of the Lakota. 


The University of Pittsburgh partners with Amizade for this program. Amizade has been designing global service-learning programs in 16 communities for over 24 years. Each year they partner with over 75 universities, high schools, civic groups and government agencies all over the world to create life-changing service and learning experiences.  One of Amizade's core values is providing community-driven service, meaning that the community defines their needs and we contribute in that way. 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Tim Crawford

Hi Everyone! I’m Tim, and I am the Assistant Director for Domestic Study Away Programming. I have experience running international study abroad programs and programs here at home in the United States. I was fortunate to have many experiential learning opportunities, both international and domestic, during my college career. Being from a small town in Central Pennsylvania, my experiences opened my eyes to the rest of the world and helped open my eyes to different cultures and career opportunities I’d love to help you take advantage of the numerous experiential learning opportunities here at Pitt. Outside of the office, I’m always looking for the next adventure. I love traveling, hate sitting still and love doing anything outdoors, in all seasons. Personally, I’m on a quest to visit as many national parks as possible. I’d love to talk to you more about any of our study away programs, answer any of your questions and help you find the right opportunity. Please reach me via email at

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app.
  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
  • Select Pitt Global as the Care Unit.
  • Select Study Abroad Virtual Advising as the Location
  • Select Study Abroad Program Specific Questions as the service
  • Select my name and find a time that works for you!

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Delanie Jenkins

Delanie is associate professor in studio arts at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches sculpture and installation. Earning an MFA in sculpture at the University of Colorado at Boulder she fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and has longed to return to the interior west. Delanie founded the Studio Arts Wyoming Field Study with the Honors College in 2009 - facilitating and sharing this field study experience with students is a highlight of her teaching in Studio Arts.

You will pay your regular Pitt tuition and fees, according to your in-state or out-of-state residency status. There is no additional cost for you.


Please note that there is a $350 non-refundable deposit when you sign up for the program. This is not an additional cost. The deposit you pay will be credited back to your summer term bill.


Tuition remission scholarships are available to students accepted into this program. Please contact your Program Manager for more information.

What's Included: 


What Else You Need to Know: 
  • No travel is involved, and there is no additional cost for you.
  • Students must apply for the program via Pitt's study abroad website. Enrollment will be handled by our office. However, you should speak to your advisor about this program and registering for your other Flex@Pitt courses.
  • Please note, due to the time difference of local faculty and guest speakers, course meeting days/times could vary