Oceti Wakan has been working with children and youth groups for many years towards the goal of lifting them out of the cycle of alcohol, drug abuse and suicide. Living in homes that more than likely include alcoholism and drug abuse, unemployment, extreme poverty, depression and hopelessness, we strive to provide culturally-based educational and enrichment activities to prevent these conditions in their futures.
We do this by giving them tools to not only cope with these difficulties, but more importantly to choose other options for themselves. The Lakota have always been known for the virtues of generosity, courage, fortitude and fidelity, so we focus on identifying and developing virtues like these, making healthy choices and being of service to others.
But finding a community building to have these meetings in has been such a challenge that we have stopped almost all of them for now. Our dream is to create an Oceti Wakan Wellness Center for children and youth here on Pine Ridge. The Center would include culturally-sensitive counselors who can guide the youth through such difficulties that lead 20 of them, ages 12-17, to choose suicide just this year. Thankfully another 200 attempted it but lived, and even more were talked out of it. This center can be not only a safe place to work through troubled lives, but also one where they can be equipped with tools to deal with their lives and a place to learn about their culture and Lakota ceremonies. This vision requires a $2,000,000 investment. Our children’s needs are so great, we feel we have to act now.
We have found a doublewide trailer for a $200,000 investment that we could use right away as a Wellness Center to put on our land. That would include electric, water and sewer hookups.
Some examples of immediate activities that could take place there:
• We have an elder who would love to start a drum group to teach our young boys the sacred songs of our people.
• We have elder women who want to use a quilting circle to mentor young Lakota girls.
• We have a program that we can set up right away call telehealth/telepsychiatry services if we had a place for counseling our young people.
• We want to have ongoing parenting classes.
• The tribe wants us to start up our prevention classes again for prevention of alcohol and drug abuse for youth.
• We have a need a place for support groups for grieving, addiction, and co-dependency.
• We will be setting up some of our ‘Lakota Language Learning Stations’ for those who want to work to learn the Lakota language.
• We will have a home for a lending library of books that we have been collecting for the young people to learn about themselves and the wisdom of the ages. (There is no public library in Pine Ridge.)
And so much more...
Any contributions to this project would be actually making a difference in the world, and could mean a turning point for many young Lakota.
Help us raise $200,000 to make this a reality for our children here! With your help we can make this a reality! Wopila!! Donate
Total amount that donors donated to our campaign "Education and Ceremonial House": $3,701
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