A Different Voice Serving the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

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About HOTOKECA Digital News and contributing authors.

The Passage of Time

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I have climbed this steep hill many times. The day is near its end. My lungs take in the cold, clear air. I pause in my ascent to gaze at the weather-beaten barn. The building has stood valiantly at the crest of the hill since 1918. The boards, creaky with age, are crumbly and dank. The few remaining shingles are hanging askew. Boards, with rusty nails intact, are littered around the barn.

The sight of the barn, however, is not my goal. The goal I seek is the beautiful, end-of-the day view from the top of the hill. From here, the snow glitters coldly as if sunlight is being reflected from the tiny ice prisms. The hills form a ravine in which a bubbly spring flows, and the ice of the pond at the end of the ravine reflects the glare of the setting sun. There is no sound except the plaintive wailing of the wind between the power lines.

Moments pass, and as I watch, the snow slowly turns gray; the ice is once again flat and dead. The life-giving sun has set, and the hills and valley have lost their majestic quality. I suddenly notice how cold it has become, and after one last glance at the darkened valley and reddened sky, I turn and start for home.

For my father, Franklin Ringer, who passed away on this day 19 years ago.  I still miss you.


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    Photo Credit: Nicolette Ringer

I’ve long had vague thoughts of creating an online website or blog, but never fully developed those thoughts. I’ve been unemployed for over a year now 14 and a half months of unemployment after having the honor of working for Chairman Bruce Renville. I’m bound to this region of the country by family and familiarity, but it’s tough for someone like me to find a job in such a small job market.  I’d pretty much just given up when my Uncle Clifford called me. He told me to get busy doing anything I could to help people – even if I don’t get paid. I thought about it, and he’s right. After all, back in 2003 nobody asked us or paid us to write our Dakota Language books, yet here we both are (along with Jody Snow) – published authors. We simply did it for the love of the language and to hopefully help someone learn.

I go into this endeavor with the same spirit – to help, to use and develop my professional skills and to have a purpose.

Proposed Content:

  • News from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe
  • Council Agendas and Calendars
  • Council Minutes
  • Tribal Governance
  • General News – local, state, national
  • Dakota Language
  • Indigenous Foods
  • Whatever my audience wants (That’s you, so let me know!)
  • Whatever I’m interested in or that seems newsworthy, interesting, weird, etc.

And other categories as needed. This site will continue to be refined and developed.  If you are interested in becoming a part of it, please feel free to contact me – seriously.  Everyone has a story. Everyone wants a better life for ourselves and future generations.  Add your voice.

The Future is Digital.

About Nicolette

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Welcome to my digital media site.  My name is Nicolette and I’m the Owner/Editor of HoTokeca Digital Media.

Basic Stuff

  • Member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe and enrolled at Long Hollow District.
  • I consider my hometown to be Lake City, SD, since I grew up on a nearby farm.
  • I’m adopted, so I can walk in many worlds. My birth parents are both SWO Members (Owen/Canku, Robertson/Woods lines), but my adoptive parents were not.  Consequently even simple questions like, “How many siblings do you have?” may result in ridiculously complicated answers, or I might simply say, “I grew up an only child” (which is technically true). Being adopted impacted my life significantly and led to an interest in topics like the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Split Feathers.
  • Sadly, I can’t make frybread, but I do make awesome lefse!


It took me an embarrassingly long time to get my degrees because I had a hard time picking a major.  I like science, informatics, business, politics, organizational theory, economics, psychology, change management and quality improvement.  My internal knowledge construct is really a matrix of topics and tools – ya know?

  • Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA
  • Biology degree from University of Minnesota – Morris in Morris, MN
  • Business Management & Marketing Associate’s degree from Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City, SD.

Experience in General

As far as work goes, I’ve worked at a lot of different places – factories, offices, clinics, hospitals, groups homes, a software company, the Federal government and Tribal government.  Basically, between college and work, I know a little about a lot of things.  Haha!  But my main interests are Performance Improvement, Change Management and Informatics.  If you have questions or need advice about higher education, testing, scholarships, I can help.

I moved around a lot for school and jobs – Rapid City (SD), Wichita (KS), Phoenix (AZ), Seattle (WA).  This has given me a “weird accent” that nobody can identify that goes well with my Jennifer-Tilly-Squeaky-Voice.  I miss pho, the sound of different languages around me, trunk tamales from Food City and the ocean. Ummm… that’s about it for now.  If you have questions, just ask.

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