April brings the promise of renewed strength, not only because the days are warmer but also because energy fills the air. With this energy, the Native Hope team leaped into spring with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. From delivering essentials to creating remarkable memories, several communities, programs, and individuals felt the impact of our donors’ contributions.
On April Fool’s Day, our whole team set off for the community of Potato Creek —a small district on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We delivered around 400 boxes of supplies: clothes, shoes, toys, art materials, hygiene supplies, and Easter items. Several community members came out to assist in unloading the trailer and van, making our travel meaningful – no joke!
Besides the Potato Creek community, we delivered 400 boxes to each of the following: the Episcopal Church of Fort Thompson, SD, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe’s Health Department, and the Crow Creek and Big Bend Districts of the Crow Creek Reservation. Each of these communities expressed their gratitude for the assistance.
Additionally, Native Hope enjoyed an invitation to visit with the St. Joseph Indian School’s Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) about our efforts to bring awareness to Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW). It was an honor to show our short film Voices Unheard and entertain questions from the committee members. One PAC member shared, “Thank you for creating this [film]— we need to show this to our kids and others on the reservation because this is a real problem for us.” Raising awareness around the issue of MMIW remains a cornerstone of our work at Native Hope — we mustn’t forget our stolen sisters.
For Earth Day, April 22, Native Hope asked Dennis Metcalf, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, to create a design for a t-shirt celebrating Uncí Makha' (Grandmother Earth). Dennis drew a buffalo (Tȟatȟáŋka) with earthly elements within the animal’s silhouette. Next, we contacted the Mission Integration Director of St. Joseph’s Indian School, Joe Tyrell, to see if the 7th and 8th-grade students would be interested in assisting our team in a clean-up effort on Earth Day. With his go-ahead, we contacted Buche Foods and Al’s Oasis of Oacoma to see if we could assist them with a Spring clean-up of their property along I-90. They were more than happy to hear of our offer.
Around 30 students and staff members traveled across the Missouri River to pick up trash. They filled several garbage bags and recovered a child’s swimming pool! The businesses provided the group a snack after the clean-up. Next, the Earth Day crew headed to a local park to find more garbage. Philámaya to our partners for making Earth Day a special day!
Finally, Native Hope recognizes the importance of Native literature and its value in cultural preservation. We are working with Cheyenne River Sioux entrepreneur Lily Mendoza, owner of the Bird Cage Book Store and Mercantile to provide Native American books to the BEAR program of Pine Ridge, Lower Brule Drug Court, Lower Brule Boys and Girls Club and Restoring Hope Shelter. Books will be delivered in May and June.
Besides community outreach, our team develops meaningful cultural and educational materials for our website and partners. Native Hope continues to dismantle barriers and offer a renewed sense of hope this spring.
As always, we thank all who support our efforts to assist those in need
and to bring awareness to the beauty of Native culture.