Running Strong for American Indian Youth to support 21,000 ft2 structure on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
KYLE, SD – On Tuesday, August 10, the Oyate Teca Project and Running Strong for American Indian Youth officially broke ground for the Oyate Ta Kola Ku Community Center after receiving the appropriate ground blessings from community members. The 21,000 square foot community center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation will be completed late Spring 2022 as weather permits.
“It’s an honor to come together as a community, as a tiospaye [family], to begin the process of bringing this center to life” said the Oyate Teca Project Executive Director Rose Fraser (Oglala Lakota). “While we kept a socially distant and Covid-safe ceremony to celebrate the groundbreaking it was amazing to see everyone out here, almost a reflection of how this center is already bringing our Pine Ridge community together and tighter again.”
The Oyate Teca Project, a local non-profit which serves more than 700 Oglala Lakota youth each year through children and family programs since 1991, plans to utilize the new community structure to expand their broad range of services and activities to accommodate more community members, events, and storage. Their current office covers 5,952 total square feet, and the upcoming community center will cover 21,000 total square feet.
“I have personally been impressed and inspired by the continued work this organization has done and is doing for the reservation,” said Mary Epps, Administration Director for Families Working Together in a letter of support. “The work that is being done by Rose Fraser and her team is amazing and is making a substantial difference on the Pine Ridge Reservation… It is through continued work such as that being done at Oyate Teca that we are seeing positive changes in residents’ lives.”
The Oyate Ta Kola Ku (Friend of All Nations) Community Center is named for Gene Krizek, founder and president of Running Strong for American Indian Youth parent organization Christian Relief Services. The center will include space for a large multi-purpose gymnasium with a concession stand; a home economics teaching kitchen; classrooms for lessons such as sewing, music, and gardening; community showers which double as tornado and wind storm shelter; outdoor space for a farmers market; a loading dock with a small warehouse and delivery truck access; and more.
The Oyate Teca Project (Young Peoples Project) is a 501c3 non-profit organization to promote the wellbeing of children and their families through culture, education, recreation and health programs. Running Strong for American Indian Youth works with Native American communities to meet their critical and long-term needs to raise happy, healthy American Indian youth. In 2016, Running Strong for American Indian Youth formalized their partnership with Oyate Teca Project, making them a new official program site. Learn more at www.oyatetecaproject.org and www.indianyouth.org.