March raced by all of us, but not before the Native Hope team, and our partners were able to do some amazing work. From food deliveries to storytelling, every day provides hope thanks to you!
Native Hope would like to thank Buche Foods of Oacoma, SD, for offering us a special rate for the 80 party platters we were able to deliver to the Lower Brule Boys and Girls club. Because of their generosity and our donors, many families were able to enjoy an awesome snack! We also toured the new Boys and Girls Club center (not pictured here) that will open later this spring.
Lynn Harrison of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe's Family Enrichment Program stopped by our offices to pick up cases of baby wipes. This donation is part of our Back to Basics Program, which provides baby bundles with newborn clothing and supplies for new and expectant mothers. It has been our privilege to work with Lynn and her staff.
A highlight for Native Hope and St. Joseph's Indian School (SJIS) students came with a visit from Starr Chief Eagle, a professional hoop dancer and South Dakota Arts Council Artist in Residence. Starr worked with the students, grades 1-8, on the SJIS campus for a week in March. To top off the week, Dallas Chief Eagle, Starr's father and mentor, and Sophia, Carlos, and Daris Benally joined Starr for an exceptional performance for the students. Starr's goal is to educate the youth about the art of hoop dancing and teach about the value of Native culture and its place in the modern world. "One of the things I try to do is explain that not every Native American family has the traditional culture, has the stories, has the dances, has the dances — a lot of that has been lost," shared Starr. "We are not peoples of the past; we are a living, breathing culture, this means we adapt, we change, we evolve over time." Native Hope's interview with Starr for our "Story of Hope" series will be out next month.
The biggest blessing for all is COVID-19 case numbers have declined for tribal members, on and off the reservations. A key reason for the decline is the Indian Health Service agencies' dedication and diligence in vaccinating tribal members and essential workers. However, Native Hope supports Native families affected by COVID with groceries, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies because the virus remains.
An essential aspect of our job at Native Hope is storytelling. This spring, Joe Tyrell, Director of Mission Integration at SJIS, asked us to document the process of making a jingle dress and incorporate the story of the original jingle dress, created around 1918 during the pandemic for a healing dance. The 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade girls — led by LaRayne Woster, Native American Studies Lead; Rachel Butzin, Art Teacher, and Bonnie Randall, seamstress — are creating a jingle dress to honor with prayer those who have been sick or passed due to COVID-19. This project and our videos will be complete later this spring —stay tuned!
As always, we thank all who support our efforts to assist those in need
and to bring awareness to the beauty of Native culture.