I am writing today with a plea for help for a cause that I think is most important, Jumping Eagle Safe House needs our help. Most specifically the children who are living at the safe house and Donna and Billy Jumping Eagle who provide the home for children to live in need our help.
The Jumping Eagle Safe House is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota are 7 bands (tribes) that make up one of the 3 major sub-divisions of the Sioux Nation of Native Americans. Pine Ridge Reservation has been reported to be the poorest area in the United States.
I have recently become a supporter of the charitable organization One Spirit who have earned the trust of the Lakota with several programs that assist the Lakota people in preserving and revitalizing the Lakota culture, language, and self-sufficiency. This charity also works at meeting the basic needs of Lakota families, children, and elders. They strive to cultivate an intercultural relationship that recognizes that we are all related (Mitakuye Oyasin) and that Native Americans are an equal and valued part of our society. One Spirit is a group of volunteers which means that no one gets a salary from the donations that are made…it all goes to meet their mission statement and actually provide real help and support. I don’t know about you but that really means something to me to know that!
Donna and Billy Jumping Eagle provide a safe haven for up to 20 Lakota kids to live when it is not safe for them to stay at home on the Pine Ridge Reservation. These children have different reasons for being there. It might be that there is no room left at their family home, it might be from their environment being riddled with alcohol or drug abuse, it might be that there is violence at their family home. At Jumping Eagle Safe House the children are loved and kept safe. They are encouraged and required to attend school. They are encouraged to keep in contact with their parents. The kids have not been removed from their homes by a social agency and the parents are fully aware of where they are and can have contact with them, in fact, it is encouraged. The kids are taught about horses which is an integral part of their Native American and Sioux culture. They are visited by Elders and taught the oral traditions that they need to know.
Here is my plea to you today; Donna, Billy, and these children need our help. One Spirit has pledged to build a dormitory for Jumping Eagle Safe House. This summer children from the ages of 10 to 17 were sleeping on the deck, in abandoned cars, and under trees at the house. Winter is coming and some of the kids will have to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags provided by One Spirit. As much as Donna, Billy, and One Spirit have done to help these kids the conditions need to be better. One Spirit wants to make that happen. There are no State, Federal, or even Tribal funds that go to Jumping Eagle Safe House! Our donations can help to get the dormitory built. A donor/supporter has agreed to match the money donated up to $40,000 so there is a potential to raise $80,000 to build the dormitory.
I know times are rough for most of us right now, it is even harder for these kids. No donation is too small to offer your support for this project. A $5 donation becomes $10 – a $25 donation becomes $50 due to the generosity of the matching donor. You can visit the website of One Spirit and make your donation through PayPal or get the address to send a check.
~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related
I also want to note that the image of children in this post is not from the Safe House, it was a public domain photo that so appropriately was titled…The future of Pine Ridge Reservation.
Hey, if you’re interested, I may be able to contact a few friends and build a rammed earth dormitory for a very cheap price. I’m planning on building one myself but I think that building one on the Reservation could be used as a “teaching” assignment and that would significantly lower the price for the dormitory. Please email the Reservation and have them message me if this is something they would like to consider.
Mark, that might be of great help. You can follow the link in the post to contact ONE Spirit. One very important aspect of the ONE Spirit programs is that the Lakota are employed as much as possible on any project as employment on the Reservation is the worst in the country.
Thank you and Veronica (vbright) for placing Pine Ridge in the forefront of our minds. Indeed, these folks, the little children, they are no less than we are. And yes, we are all related.