The Architecture of Denby M. Deegan, Surrounded by Enemy

Architecture drawings
October 12, 2021

As we recognize and honor the enduring legacies and contributions of indigenous peoples, NDSU Libraries and the School of Design, Architecture, and Art invite you to an exhibit of the architecture of Denby M. Deegan, Surrounded by Enemy.

Architectural drawings by Denby Deegan were donated by his family to the NDSU Archives in 2021; view the finding aid for the collection here. Deegan was a 1965 NDSU graduate, receiving a Bachelor of Architecture degree as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Studies. The exhibit includes drawings and photographs of some of Deegan’s most well-known projects from his career. Also on display are sketches and details that represent how he incorporated Native American heritage into his design work. 

Visit the display October 25–November 4, 2021 at the Flakoll Gallery located on the main floor of Renaissance Hall (650 Northern Pacific Ave., Fargo). Gallery hours are 8am–5pm Monday through Friday. Street parking is available. 

During National Native American Heritage Month this November and throughout the year, we recognize the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. See Native American Initiatives established at NDSU by the President’s Council for Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect here.

About Denby M. Deegan, Surrounded by Enemy
Denby M. Deegan (1941-2018), Surrounded by Enemy, was a member of North Dakota’s Three Affiliated Tribes, also known as the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation), and also specifically of the Arikara and Hunkpapa Sioux tribe. Deegan’s name, Surrounded by Enemy, was given to him by Grandma Circle of Tents Good Woman, a cousin of Sitting Bull. His mother was the daughter of the last reigning Arikara Chief, White Shield. Prior to attending NDSU, he was educated at schools on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation; in Marty, South Dakota; in Garrison, North Dakota for high school; and at Bismarck Junior College (now Bismarck State College) where he received an associate degree in engineering.

Deegan had a distinguished career as one of the first Native American registered architects in the United States and in North Dakota. His career spanned 45 years and included work throughout the country, the majority of which was in North Dakota and Montana. Much of his work incorporated themes and motifs of Arikara culture and heritage. Deegan was a founding member of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE), a non-profit organization designed to encourage and mentor the development of Native American architects and engineers.  

One Book One Community
Each year, NDSU Libraries partner with the Fargo-Moorhead Libraries for the One Book, One Community reading initiative to share research and discovery with the public and to impact the community beyond campus. The book chosen for this year is Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer. This exhibit is just one of many events that support this year’s shared conversation; see what else is happening in the community here.

How to Get Involved
The NDSU Archives actively seeks additions to its collections and relies on material and financial donations from the community to fulfill its mission. To learn more about our collections or make a donation, visit or contact us at

More Resources
To see more resources related to Tribal and Indigenous People Studies available at NDSU Libraries, go here.

Images from above graphic: Top: Drawing of Pueblo Pintado Community School in northwestern New Mexico; Bottom: Drawing of Four Bears Memorial Bridge over the Missouri River on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota