Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever. -Roy T. Bennett
The COVID-19 storm wages on. Relatives, on and off reservations, are battling the virus in high numbers—many need support. Native Hope continues its COVID relief efforts in various ways and with the aid of other organizations: PAZA-Tree of Life, the Antinanco School, and St. Joseph’s Indian School. These efforts would not be possible without the support and donations from our donors and volunteers.
October kicked off a busy fall season. Deliveries to the Rosebud, Lower Brule, and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reservations continued. On October 1, we delivered numerous infant and toddler clothes, strollers, toys, and other items to the Rosebud Boys and Girls Club. Deliveries of groceries went to 24 quarantined families. Fifteen cleaning and hygiene bundles were also distributed. Our friends from PAZA assisted the members of Crow Creek with several boxes of adult diapers for elders.
Additionally, our team held our annual Never in Season campaign to raise awareness about the potential of Sex Trafficking during South Dakota’s hunting season. On October 16, the team hit the streets to fill sidewalk cracks with red sand from Molly Gochman’s Red Sand Project. Several local businesses and numerous Native Hope donors placed the sand in the cracks to remind all that we should not let victims fall through the cracks.
The following week Native Hope partnered with the counseling department at St. Joseph’s Indian School for a Red Sand event to honor Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW). With the desire of making a long-lasting impact, Native Hope created and purchased MMIW t-shirts and masks for the female students, ages 11-18, and their counselors. At the event, the counselors and Native Hope team presented information about MMIW. The girls spread red sand in sidewalk cracks. Each girl dipped her hand into red paint and pressed the color onto a horse in remembrance of those women lost—the red handprint is symbolic of the MMIW. It was a powerful, worthwhile event for all.
Typically, we participate in numerous Halloween parties and parades, but this year COVID forced most events to cancel. However, the team participated in a socially distanced Halloween costume parade on October 29 at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Thanks to a generous donor, we distributed over 150 Kimball Popcorn Balls—a local treat. The Native Hope team displayed their holiday spirit and dressed as that amazing superhero, Captain Underpants! Needless to say, the kids enjoyed a good laugh (at the underpants.😂)
Native American Heritage Month
November is traditionally Native American Heritage Month. This month we endeavor to bring attention to everyday Native Americans who are doing their part each day to honor their people. We also take time to recognize Rock Your Mocs, a week-long celebration of culture. This year, students from St. Joseph'd Indian School took part in a socially distanced Rock Your Mocs contest on November 8. It remains essential to Native Hope to educate our audience on Native heritage and the untold history of the Native story, including misconceptions surrounding Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this awareness and celebration have been hampered this year.
As in the rest of the world, the COVID-19 storm continued to rage on during November. Our relatives and friends in local communities and reservations experienced high infection and death rates along with an elevated need for aid. Because of generous donations from friends in Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado, California, Illinois, and beyond, Native Hope sustained and even bolstered its assistance.
Our team delivered COVID Relief to 18 families in Lower Brule. Each household received groceries, cleaning and hygiene kits, and activities for all. Additionally, 12 elders received Thanksgiving holiday meal boxes. We provided the Lower Brule Boys and Girls club (LBBGC) with 8 pies to add to the Holiday meals they made and delivered to children. We continue to assist the club with snacks for their members on a bi-weekly basis as well.
Melissa Johnson and Tonya Derdall of the Lower Brule Boys & Girls Club approached Native Hope about assisting with coats for the kids in September. We purchased 43 New Coats for the boys and girls just in time for the change in weather because of another generous donor. Also, 12 hand-knit winter hats and 50 youth masks made it to the LBBGC.
Our friends in Maine sent youth clothing and handmade masks, which we delivered to Glen Marshall and his staff at the Rosebud Boys and Girls Club—25 boxes and 100 handmade masks. “We are lucky to have Native Hope as a partner!” Glen remarked. We feel the same about them as they do a fantastic job servicing the youth of Mission, SD.
Native Hope’s Christmas mission is to reach as many Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota youth. So, we sent $500 to the Cheyenne River Youth Project for gifts, and we delivered 279 gifts (toys/games/electronics) to the following:
- 41 to Lower Brule Headstart Program (ages 3 and 4)
- 192 to the Pine Ridge-based Be Excited About Reading BEAR program (ages 5-18)
- 40 gifts for 20 Yankton Sioux Tribe children in the DSS program (ages 8 months-11)
At the end of November, our friends and partners, PAZA – Tree of Life, Jim and Sharee Standing Bear, and others visited our team. They came loaded with more supplies and gifts for our local reservations—the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes.
- 400lb of non-perishable foods (nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, beef stew, etc)
- 200lb of fresh organic produce (pumpkins, squash, oranges, lemons, oranges, garlic, ginger, turmeric)
- 20 bikes, helmets, locks and water bottles
- 120 youth sweaters, backpacks and blankets
- 100 wellness kits (honey, elderberry syrup, cocoa, hocl spray, colloidal silver, herbal teas, Vitamin C, D3, K2, Zinc, cooking spices, colloidal silver soaps)
- HOCL generator
- 150 kits for kids and youth (activity packs, books, toys, healthy snacks, hats, gloves, scarves, handmade dolls, cocoa) also Jim S.B. from Utah brought Christmas toys for youth
- Pet packs for pets and pet food
- Books for kids
- Sage, sweetgrass, cedar, osha and dreamcatchers medicine
It was an exciting visit. PAZA and Native Hope have been working together since the beginning of the pandemic to deliver aid to these communities. The two teams enjoyed giving items collected in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Colorado to the relatives here. We enjoyed a socially distanced traditional grass dance performance by Delwin Fiddler, CEO of PAZA, at St. Joseph’s Indian School, which Delwin attended as a boy. It was remarkable to have members and friends of PAZA here to share our visions of hope over a traditional meal prepared together.
Efforts continue in December
As December rolls on, Native Hope plans to give $1,520 to the Lower Brule Boys & Girls Club to purchase Christmas gifts for their youth members—$20 per child. We will sponsor 30 holiday meal boxes for the Christmas holiday.
Additionally, the team is busy making 60-65 elder packs with blankets, Native American medicines for teas and spiritual healing, prayer ties, and much more. Native Hope created an Amazon Wish List as another way for people to deliver joy this season.
It is impossible to list all the incredible partners, supporters, and donors. Please know that every mask, book, toy, and article of clothing will find a new home with a deserving relative.
Together, we will weather this storm and come out more equipped for the next.
Philámayaye to all!