Dr. Richard Littlebear – Commissioner

Dr. Richard Littlebear

Northern Cheyenne

Dr. Littlebear was born in Lame Deer, MT on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.  He attended school in Busby MT to the 8th Grade.  

He graduated Lind (WA) High School, attended two community colleges in Washington, Centralia and Wenatchee Valley and eventually graduated at Bethel College in N. Newton, KS; served in the US Army in 1965-1967, was honorably discharged.  He earned a master’s degree in school administration at Montana State U. in Bozeman; earned an Ed.D.in 1994 school administration from Boston University, in Boston, MA.  

He worked on his home reservation for many years in various capacities, mostly in education.  He then worked for a multicultural service center based in Beaverton, OR. He transferred to a new job with the same organization in Alaska, where he worked until August 1996, when he returned to the N. Cheyenne Reservation as the Chief Dull Knife College Dean of Cultural Affairs, until he was selected President on September 1999.

Presently, he is the outgoing President of Chief Dull Knife College in addition to being the interim Dean of Cultural Affairs. His organizational present and past memberships include the following:  American Indian College Fund located in Denver, CO; American Indian Higher Education Consortium, located in Alexandria VA; Indigenous Languages Institute, located in Santa Fe, NM; the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, located in Lame Deer, MT; a commissioner on Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, located in Redmond, WA; member of the Montana Tribal College Presidents’ Association located in Montana; ex offico of the Northern Cheyenne Coalition to Preserve the Cheyenne language located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation; member of Sand Creek Massacre Foundation located in Denver, Colorado.

His wife, Janice Jo Littlebear, Ph.D., is an Educational Consultant for the Alaska Teacher Mentor Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and also directs/teaches at the Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, AK.  She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.   

The Cheyenne language is Dr. Littlebear’s, first language.  He learned to read and write the Cheyenne language; he considers these his greatest academic achievements.

People of the Sacred Land

People of the Sacred Land is a Colorado-based nonprofit working to uncover the truth about American Indian history in the state. The purpose of the People of Sacred Land is to support American Indian people who are citizens of the State of Colorado to preserve their culture, language, and ways of life that were intimately tied to the land.


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