Children and adults are sewing at the Pine Ridge native american community center

One Year Later: Celebrating the Pine Ridge Native American Community Center

Once just a vision, the Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center has evolved into a thriving hub of imagination, culture, and togetherness within its first year of existence. This 21,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, nestled in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is a cornerstone of the community, providing a wealth of resources and opportunities to its members. Built under the guiding principles of Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, this Native American community center just celebrated its first anniversary on October 14th, 2023. Yet, this is merely the beginning of its story, with countless chapters of impact and transformation yet to be written.

The Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center, translating to ‘Friend of All Nations’, stands as a living tribute to the late co-founder of Running Strong, Gene Krizek. This center embodies our unwavering dedication to fostering the dreams and imaginations of the Pine Ridge community. It is here where children can embrace the excitement of playing in a cutting-edge gymnasium, while adults and tribal elders impart their wisdom through arts, language, beading, and traditional cooking classes held in our fully equipped teaching kitchens and classrooms. This Native American community center serves as a safe, healthy, and accessible haven for all community members. Here they are able to learn, grow, and establish meaningful connections.

The Mission

The center was created with a clear mission: to empower the residents of Pine Ridge by providing them with the tools and resources they need to thrive. Over the past year, the Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center has done just that. It has fostered a sense of unity and resilience while offering a multitude of exciting programs and amenities:

  • A year-round Farmers’ Market, providing fresh, local produce and promoting healthy eating habits.
  • An expansive Warehouse and Storage Facility for food, medical supplies, and clothing, ensuring that fundamental needs are met.
  • Public Wi-Fi and Computers, granting students easier access to online learning resources and connecting the community to the digital world.
  • A fully-equipped Teaching Kitchen and Cannery, where community members can learn about nutrition, food preservation, and culinary arts.
  • An Indoor Gymnasium and Multi-Purpose Room, providing a space for physical activity, social gatherings, and community events.
  • Multiple Arts, Music, and Sewing Classrooms, fostering creativity, personal growth, and skill development.
  • An Outdoor Area for gardening, sports, and social events, promoting physical health and communal bonding.

In just one year, the Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center has become more than just a building. It’s a vibrant hub of community, culture, and connection.  It’s a place where children gather safely, elders meet and teach, and all together celebrate the pride of being Lakota. As we celebrate this anniversary, we not only remember the progress we’ve made, but also envision the potential that lies ahead. Here’s to many more years of growth, empowerment, and positive impact in Pine Ridge!

Join Our Journey!

In commemorating this milestone, we invite you to become part of our journey. Your generous donations can help us continue to provide these vital services. Enrich the lives of the Pine Ridge community through our Native American community center today! Join us in Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Donate Today!

Help American Indian Youth by Donating Today!