Chief of Wyandotte Nation to Visit USC Aiken

November 08, 2017

As part of Native American Heritage Month, members of the University of South Carolina Aiken student body invited the chief of the Wyandotte Nation in northeast Oklahoma, to campus Nov. 9, at 4:30, in Penland 106. The public is invited to this free event.

Chief Billy Friend will present The Journey of the Wyandotte, which will include the nation's forced migration from Ohio westward - also referred to as "the other Trail of Tears."

Prior to assuming the position of chief, Friend served as second chief for five years. In addition, he has more than 19 years of diverse leadership and management experience. He has also served the Wyandotte Nation as director of health services, director of human Resources, and chief of staff.

As the leader of the Wyandotte Nation, Friend is responsible for fulfilling the mission statement and developing, revising and implementing strategic planning that directs all grants and contracts administered by the nation. He works with each department and committee in executing initiatives and serves as the tribal representative to all community service partners and other tribal organizations. Additionally, he is responsible for strategic development and oversight of all land claim settlement and land into trust issues and has had oversight of two tribal casino projects.

While at the helm, Friend has grown the Wyandotte Nation initiatives to more than 800 employees, with gross revenues of tribal enterprises producing over $80 million, which help fund and subsidize all of the tribal social service programs. Last year alone, the tribe funded more than $750,000 in college scholarships for tribal citizens and provided medical benefits in excess of $6 million.

USC Aiken, a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offers undergraduate and master’s degrees to more than 3,500 students in 50 programs of study. USC Aiken is ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report’s guide "America’s Best Colleges." The 2018 distinction marks USC Aiken’s 20th consecutive ranking among the top three in this category and its 13th time in first place.