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Denby Deegan (Surrounded by Enemy) Architectural Drawings

Identifier: MSS 3112

Scope and Contents

This collection contains architectural drawings. They are mostly for Indigenous tribes located in North Dakota. There are also drawings for churches and one residence.


  • 1983 - 2016

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open under the rules and regulations of the NDSU Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyrights to this collection is held by The North Dakota State University Archives.

Biographical / Historical

(The following was taken from Minot Daily News

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.

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.

Deegan attended school at Nishu on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Nishu now is covered by Lake Sakakawea. He then went to Marty Mission Indian School in South Dakota and returned to the area to finish high school in Garrison. He attended Bismarck Junior College in Bismarck and received an associate degree in engineering. With encouragement from his sister, Marmie, he went into architecture at North Dakota State University, Fargo. He graduated in 1965, receiving two degrees: Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and the professional Bachelor of Architecture degree from the College of Architecture and Engineering. 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 (AICAE).

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. and very few of them were principals in the firms or offices where they worked. A small group of them came together in Albuquerque, N.M., on June 23, 1975, to form AICAE, according to AICAE history. The nonprofit organization was established to promote the development of American Indians in the professions of architecture and engineering and to encourage the training and licensing of greater numbers of American Indians in these professions.

“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, Denby’s work can be seen on the cover of Contemporary Native American Architecture (Carol Herselle Krinsky). As 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. We honor Denby and his family in our prayers and strive to carry forward his legacy,” AICAE said in a message sent to its members following Deegan’s death.


47 Items

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Justin Deegan (2021-031irs).

Legal Status

The NDSU Archives owns the property rights to this collection.
Finding Aid to the Denby Deegan (Surrounded by Enemy) Architectural Drawings
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Institute for Regional Studies Repository

West Building N
3551 7th Avenue North
Fargo North Dakota 58102 United States