“I am gonna do this...I’m gonna fix this...I am gonna do something. It’s gonna be huge, and you guys are going to fight me on this...but I am crazy about you [Lakotas]. I can’t stop,” declares Jacob Helvick [Wanbli Ceya], an Oglala from the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Lately, much is being said about bias in the news. Bias is everywhere—even in the history books. Sadly, American history books leave out many of the facts about Native Americans and the atrocities of the colonization process. Native Hope Ambassador Kansas Middletent recently spoke to a group of public school students, and here is a little of the conversation that happened in the classroom.
"Children are wakȟáŋheža, 'sacred beings.' You are all sacred beings with special gifts. You all need to know this, and always remember this. There are no excuses when it comes to using drugs and alcohol…it’s a choice,” Kansas Middletent, Native Hope Ambassador, explained to the youth at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time for all of us to join together in an effort to eliminate the stigma that is often attached to this serious issue. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Native Americans, however, are 1.5 times more likely to experience serious psychological distress than any other ethnicity within the general population.
Kul Wicasa Oyate Tiwahe Aŋpetu
"Community”and "unity” are important words in the Native culture. They are derived from the Lakota phrase Mitakuye Oyasin, which means we are all related, and without community and unity we could not survive.
Dances have always been an important part of life for American Indians. The celebration of dance through the vibrancy of the powwow brings people together and creates a deeper fellowship through tradition and symbolism. The powwow season is now in full swing in South Dakota, and with the many dances happening around the state, the true heartbeat of the culture can be seen through the beautiful regalia and felt in the beat of the drum circles.
One of a mother’s greatest gifts to her children is the ability to nurture and care for them in a safe and loving environment. Unfortunately, there are mothers today fighting to provide these everyday, "basic” needs that most of us take for granted. There are mothers who are searching for a way out of domestic abuse and seeking a brighter future for their families—a future filled with hope and not fear.
We are excited to share our involvement in the Dreamstarter grant initiative! Trisha Burke, Native Hope's Creative Content Specialist, has been in Washington, D.C., this week with Stephan Cheney, a young Native American from the Lower Brule Sioux tribe who lives in Blue Lake, California. Thank you to Running Strong for choosing Stephan as a Dreamstarter! Native Hope is proud to be his mentoring organization and Trisha his mentor. Follow along on their journey to Washington, D.C.
In Native American culture it is believed that all things possess an inherent virtue, power, and wisdom. The feather, for example, is a powerful symbol that signifies honor and a connection between the owner, the Creator, and the bird the feathers came from. It symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, and freedom. It is an object that is deeply revered and a sign of high honor.
The Native American culture is a living, breathing entity. It is a tapestry of tradition and values passed on from generation to generation. One tradition that exemplifies the love of family and community in Native culture is the powwow.