The legacy of Denby Deegan, one of the first Native American architects in the United States and North Dakota, lives on in his architectural work.

Deegan, of White Shield, died Dec. 24, 2018, in Bismarck at the age of 77.

Deegan was one of the first Native American architects in the United States and in North Dakota, according to the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers. He also was one of the founding members of AICAE based in Albuquerque, N.M.

In the early 1970s, fewer than 30 American Indian architects and 15 engineers could be identified throughout the U.S. A small group of them came together in Albuquerque in 1975 to form AICAE, a nonprofit organization established to promote the development of American Indians in the professions of architecture and engineering.

"Denby was an accomplished architect and a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, also known as the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. One of the first Native architects registered in North Dakota ... (and) one of the founding members of the AICAE, we are grateful for his early contributions to our organization and leadership in the architectural design field," AICAE said in a message to its members following Deegan's death.

According to biographical information about Deegan:

Deegan’s major goal as an architect, planner, designer and builder was the preservation of American Indian culture and heritage. During his 45 years of architectural work, much of his work was for and about the Arikara culture and heritage.

Born March 15, 1941, to Pete and Dorothy (Gillette) Deegan, Denby Deegan’s mother was the daughter of the last reigning Arikara Chief White Shield. His Indian name, Surrounded by Enemy, was given to him by the late Sioux Grandma Circle of Tents Good Woman, a cousin to Sitting Bull. Deegan was of the Arikara and Hunkpapa Sioux tribes.

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