Our day began visiting Bear Butte, a site sacred to the Lakota. We were welcomed with a prayer from our guides, Tom Cook, Ken Lone Elk, and Chris Eagle Hawk. After admiring the landscape of Bear Butte and learning about its importance to the Lakota people, we were on our way to the Takini School on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation.
Takini means survivor
We had lunch first thing at the Takini School and then met with our Mary Little Sky, who oversees Running Strong’s smack sacks food program! The school serves students K-12 that come from all over the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation.
The backpack food program started after teachers were noticing their students were tired and hungry coming in on Mondays. Because the students qualify for the Federal Free Lunch Program they rely on the breakfasts and lunch provided by the school during the week, but the weekends are more difficult.
The backpack food program began to help provide kid-friendly, easy to eat and prepare foods. We are able to include fresh fruit in the weekly bags that children receive and oftentimes the weekly sacks of food can help feed their entire families.
We also attended Takini’s Back-to-School powwow today!
Summer Youth Feeding at Red Scaffold
Next, we traveled to the Sacred Heart Church in Red Scaffold, one of the sites of our Summer Food Program. We were welcomed to Red Scaffold by Dayne Collins. She volunteers as a cook and on average feeds an average of 38 youth a day. She manages the site by herself, driving some 132 miles round trip each week during the program to pick up food supplies.
The kids are fed lunch every day during the summer, all they have to do is show up. The lunches are healthy, meeting USDA nutritional standards. These lunches are essential because when school is not in session there are limited options for the kids to get food.
We also visited with Annie Chasing Hawk, a Dreamstarter from Year 2: Arts & Culture. Annie’s dream is to inspire local Native youth to learn about the art business and to see a wider variety of career opportunities. Annie also showed us how to bundle sage and brought some delicious frybread & wojapi to share.
Check back during the week for photos of each day's actvities!