Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial (Mazaska) is a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution founded in 2004 and is located in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Mazaska creates homeownership opportunities for the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe living on, or in the communities adjacent to, the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mazaska provides home loans to first-time and existing homeowners, and offers free financial literacy and homeownership classes.
Our mission is to create safe and affordable housing opportunities on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by providing loans, training and financial insight to empower our native people to build assets and create wealth.
Our Service Area
Mazaska’s investment area is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as
recognized by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and adjacent communities within a 50-mile radius.
Who We Serve
- Enrolled members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe
- Spouses of enrolled members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe
- Non-members whose enrollment application is pending and who wish to buy or build a home on the Pine Ridge Reservation
Colleen Steele, Executive Director
Ms.Steele is the Executive Director of Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, a Native community development financial institution
that specializes in creating homeownership opportunities for Oglala Sioux Tribal members living on or in the communities adjacent
to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Ms. Steele is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and has served as Mazaska’s primary staff
member since 2005. Ms. Steele was Mazaska’s loan officer for six years before becoming the Executive Director in 2010. Ms. Steele has been
instrumental in raising funds for the organization and improving the loan program and Mazaska’s accounting systems. She has over twenty
years experience in working with Native organizations and has focused upon two primary areas: Financial Administration and Social Services.
In addition, she has received extensive training, ranging from nonprofit fiscal management to homebuyer education and financial
literacy and is a certified housing counselor.
Crynthia Clifford, Loan Officer
Ms. Clifford joined Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial in 2012 as the Loan Officer. She is responsible for underwriting, originating, closing and monitoring Mazaska’s loan portfolio. Crynthia has over two years’ experience in the nonprofit industry specializing in finance and received her Associates of Arts in Entrepreneurship from Oglala Lakota College in 2011. Prior to working in the nonprofit industry, Crynthia worked as a supervisor with the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s WIA program where she supervised over 300 youth assisting them with workforce development training. She enjoys working with people and is passionate on helping families succeed in homeownership and with her unique insight on business will step outside of the box in assisting Mazaska’s customers. Crynthia is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She has three children and is dedicated to improving the housing conditions for her children and future generations.
Board of Directors:
Tanya Fiddler, President
Ms. Fiddler is the executive director of Four Bands Community Fund, a Native community development financial institution (CDFI) focused on entrepreneurship and financial literacy development on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation located in north central South Dakota.
Ms. Fiddler, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has served as the executive director of Four Bands since 2002 and has
built the organization from the start up phase into a successful, innovative and award-winning organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree
in Interdisciplinary Sciences from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and has 15 years of experience working with Native organizations.
Ms. Fiddler is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2008 Bureau of Indian Affairs “Entrepreneur Advocate of the Year,” the
2007 Small Business Administration “Minority Small Business Champion for South Dakota and Region VIII,” and the 2007 “Visionary Leader Award
for Outstanding Achievement” in recognition of her impact in the CDFI field. She received a Fellowship in the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival in 2008
and has been an active voice in Native community and economic development.
In addition to her role at Four Bands, Tanya is also the Co-Chair for the Native CDFI Network. The Native CDFI Network is a membership
network that was established to create opportunities for Native CDFI peer-to-peer learning and to identify Native CDFI policy priorities.
She is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at regional and national conferences and is also a board member of the
South Dakota Indian Business Alliance and Corporation for Enterprise Development.
Tawney Brunsch, Treasurer
Ms. Brunsch is the Executive Director of Lakota Funds, the first certified Native CDFI on a reservation. Before being promoted to her current position,
Ms. Brunsch served as Loan Portfolio Manager at Lakota Funds. Ms. Brunsch brings eight years of experience to Lakota Funds as Black Hills Federal Credit Union
Wall Branch Manager, where she successfully juggled duties as loan officer, member service representative, teller, branch security manager, collection officer,
and staff motivator. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Commercial Economics from South Dakota State University where she was active in Econ Club
and graduated with Omicron Delta Epsilon honors. She was honored to be named Wall Neighborhood Housing Services Volunteer of the Year in 2007. She also served
on the Economic Development Committee in Wall, South Dakota, and is a certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance preparer. In addition to serving on the
Board of Directors of Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Ms. Brunsch is the Chairperson of the proposed Lakota Federal Credit Union Steering Committee.
Ms. Brunsch grew up on a ranch south of Interior on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Karen Pourier, Secretary
Bio Coming Soon
Kadem Fisher, Board of Director Member
Mr. Fisher is a Success Coach Specialist for Lakota Funds. He has certificates of completion in Weaving Your Financial Future through South Dakota State University, Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families through First Nations Oweesta Corporation, and credit coaching. Currently, Kadem is taking an on-line class called “Native American Credit Counseling Certification” through Association for Financial Counseling Planning Education to become an accredited financial counselor.
Prior to coming to Lakota Funds, Kadem was a General Contractor remodeling and rebuilding reservation housing on various reservations. He also has worked as a Sales Representative/Market Promotions Coordinator for U.S.S.T.C and hopes this will give him a creative edge in assisting local commerce. Business has always been an interest for Kadem and is excited to be working for Lakota Funds. Kadem is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and has lived in this area the majority of his whole life. In his spare time he enjoys outdoor activities.
Melvin Cummings, Ex-Official
Mr. Cummings is a successful rancher and active community member. In the past, he has served as Treasurer of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and served as a member
of the Shannon County School Board for over twenty-five years. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of LaCreek Rural Electric Cooperative
and has owned his home for many years. He is a tribal elder who is well-known and well-regarded in the community. Mr. Cummings provides credibility
within the community and offers invaluable insights to Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial’s target market.