Marla Bear

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Marla Bear

1996 Global Fellow
Founder of Native American Advocacy Project

Marla Bear 1996 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Assist Native Americans with disabilities and Native American Youth by promoting a healthy lifestyle, providing prevention, education, training, advocacy, support, independent living skills, and referrals.


Marla Bear is a member of the Milks Camp Community of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Native American Advocacy Program (NAAP), the first of two Native American Centers for Independent Living in the Nation. NAAP provides alcohol and drug prevention, supportive mental health counseling, and independent living services to Native Americans on and off the nine tribal nations in South Dakota. Marla received her Master’s in Counseling from Sinte Gleska University (SGU), a tribal university located on the Rosebud Reservation. She is currently chairwoman of the Board of Regents for Sinte Gleska University. In addition, Marla has served the state in various capacities including serving twelve years on the State Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council. Her life experiences have included expanding her expertise to include massage therapy, Reiki, and equine assisted therapy.

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