Breakfast with Billie Rose Garreaux, Food Distribution Coordinator
Billie Rose Garreaux, Running Strong’s Food Distribution Coordinator on the Cheyenne River Reservation, made our group a fabulous breakfast. Food distribution on Cheyenne River Reservation began in 1996 Since, Billie Rose has helped distribute thousands of dry and frozen food boxes to people in her community.
After breakfast, we enjoyed a wonderful morning and lunch at the Keya Foundation (‘Keya’ means ‘turtle’ in Lakota) with Year 2 Dreamstarter Annie Chasing Hawk and her mentor, Justine Kougl. Launched in 2014, Running Strong’s Dreamstarter program awards fifty $10,000 grants over the five-year period to support the dreams Native youth have for their communities. Each youth, between the ages of 14 and 30, apply for the grant in partnership with a ‘mentor’ non-profit organization. At the end of the grant period, Running Strong will choose five projects to be eligible for an additional $50,000 grant. Forty Dreamstarters have been named in the first four years of the program around the themes of “Education,” “Wellness,” “Arts and Culture,” & ‘Science & the Environment.” The Keya Foundation works to foster healthy lifestyles in youth and families through knowledge, capacity building, and hands-on-training. One of their current projects the Lakota Artistry Project, through which Annie has developed her business as an artist. During our visit, they hosted the Cheyenne River Native Arts Gathering, where artist cooperatives and art programs came together and shared about the work they are doing on the reservation.
The Badlands landscapes span layered rock formation, steep canyons, and towering spires. We drove across the picturesque Badlands loop and stopped to take pictures along the way. On the way back to Rapid City from the badlands, we heard from Year 4 Dreamstarter Michael Charles, who has joined us for the week! His Dreamstarter project is to increase Native representation in higher education, specifically STEM fields.
Tomorrow we are traveling to the Crazy Horse Memorial. We will also visit the Slim Buttes Agriculture Project, and learn more about the gardening programs from our guide, Tom Cook.