A Message from the Executive Director
Hau, Mitakuyapi – A traditional greeting from our Dakota people here in South Dakota. This month marks the completion of my first year as Director of Dakota Indian Foundation. I want to thank our donors, office staff and Board of Directors for their hard work and support as we met this year’s goals.
I hope this update finds you in good health as we approach the holiday season. This past summer we were able to support many activities as a result of donor contributions. Children were able to attend summer camps where they slept in tipis, learned how to canoe and listened to legends and stories around the campfire.
Our youth were also able to plant gardens and partake in Coming of Age ceremonies for the young ladies. Respected elder women shared the role of conveying traditional teachings to the youth who learn how to make clothing, beadwork and make beautiful items from porcupine quillwork.
Our young men partake in traditional ceremony such as Inipi (sweat lodge) or purification and Wiwayang Wacipi or Sundance. In our traditions, “what goes around- always comes back around.” Our youth today represent our prayer that our ceremonies will come back around for the next generation. In addition to ceremonies, Dakota Indian Foundation has been able to support social events such as powwows and language preservation conferences.
The Dakota Plains Gallery and Gifts saw its first summer of tourism traffic. The gift shop provides an economic outlet for artists from
local tribal nations and a place for tourists to purchase authentic gifts. Beautiful items such as beadwork, jewelry, paintings, star quilts and drums are available at reasonable prices. Every purchase is a donation that feeds back into the budget for further economic development.
Finally, over 90 Native American students received academic scholarships to attend college this semester. Students are required to attend
on a full-time basis and keep a minimal 2.0 grade point average. In addition to college students, several graduate students also received scholarships. It remains our hope that graduates return to help their people and serve as role-models for the youth.
As we look forward, we are constantly seeking ways to save on expenses as the number of grant requests continues to rise. For example, we were able to save on the cost of Printing and mailing and we’re encouraging people to purchase art produced by native artists. We only have three staff in the office who work hard to keep up with processing mail and getting a response to our donors. In addition to donations, I am personally writing for grants to supplement the programs we support.
Pilamaya (Thank you) for your continued support as we approach this sacred holiday season! Visit us on Facebook as well.
83 scholarships have been awarded for Spring 2013 semester. Read student stories.
Overcoming Poverty through Education
At the heart of our mission is the belief that we can overcome poverty through education.
For over 40 years, donors have partnered with the Dakota Indian Foundation to help students pursue an education and career.
Giving Back to Communities
Many students are the first in their family to attend college. It remains our prayer that students are able to return home and help their families and communities. Students attend both private and State Colleges and Universities, as well as local Tribal Colleges.
Dakota Indian Foundation serves Native Americans in South Dakota. Learn more about the South Dakota Tribes.