“Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Dakota Culture for Future Generations”
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The most important featured news and articles from MMDC

Reservation Child’s Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack.

By ELISSA STOHLER | ABC News – 13 hrs ago

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  • Reservation Child's Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack (ABC News)

    Reservation Child’s Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack (ABC News)

When ABC News first met little Tashina Iron Horse, she was 5 years old, a chatty and vivacious kindergartener. Now she’s 6, in the first grade, and she tells us she wants Justin Bieber to be her boyfriend. If she could, she’d ask President Obama for “Fresh water…and bubble gum…and a backpack.” She wants to grow up to be a police officer, a career choice inspired by her mother Bobbie, who works long hours as a security guard.

Tashina lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where most of the 30,000 to 40,000 residents identify as Oglala Lakota Sioux and boast of a rich cultural history and deep-seated spirituality. Located in the southwest corner of South Dakota, Pine Ridge is one of the 565 federally recognized Indian Nations in the United States. It is also one of the poorest.

Pine Ridge residents live amid poverty that rivals that of the third world. Forty-seven percent of the Pine Ridge population lives below the federal poverty level, 65 percent to 80 percent of the adults are unemployed, and rampant alcoholism and an obesity epidemic combine with underfunded schools to make it a rough place to grow up. Tashina lives in government housing in Manderson, 30 minutes north of downtown Pine Ridge. She lives with her grandmother, parents, siblings and uncles – sometimes up to 19 people live in the three-bedroom house, which has seen better days.

In the decades following President John F. Kennedy’s pledge to fund public housing projects on American Indian reservations, a construction boom began in Pine Ridge. Today, most of these units built in the 1970s and 1980s are in varying degrees of disrepair – a result, critics say, of steep cuts to the Housing and Urban Development budget made by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Public housing dollars today are largely spent battling black mold in reservation housing rather than constructing new homes.

Amid the despair, there are youth across the reservation — like Tashina — who are breaking through the hopelessness with huge dreams and powerful stories.

So that she can be a competitive dancer at the pow wows, Tashina sports beautifully hand-crafted outfits made by her Uncle Matthew. Matthew is a senior in high school who lovingly hand-sews and beads Tashina’s pow wow regalia: shawls, moccasins, hair pieces, and dresses. At the pow wows, Matthew is constantly at Tashina’s side: practicing with her and helping her get into costume.

Learn more about Tashina and the challenges she and other Pine Ridge children face Friday at 10 p.m. ET on “Hidden America: Children of the Plains,” a 20/20 special. Check out a sneak peek — Tashina teaches Diane Sawyer some of her moves — below.

Closing Coldwater for a year say NO, we need our sacred water.

1) A letter about what’s happening at Coldwater addressed to the National Park Service regional director in Nebraska is now up at the Friends of Coldwater website. PCCC is listed as as getting a copy of this letter with photos. Please go to www.friendsofcoldwater.org to see the letter and all the photos that just went up on the website.

2) Via the grapevine we heard today that the National Park Service plans to close the Coldwater property beginning this November for a year. We have not been notified of the plan to close Coldwater. We are concerned about unilateral closing without notification and without any process to insure access to the water.

This Sunday morning, Oct 9, there will be a meeting at Barb Nimis’ office/the MMDC office at 10 am, in Mendota. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the proposed closing of Coldwater to the public. Since this is Barb’s home and office, and it’s small, if you would like to attend the Sunday morning meeting would you kindly email Barb at bnimis@yahoo.com so we can plan for chairs. Maybe bring a chair and prepare to chat outside. You might recall that when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed Coldwater we ended up in federal court for a year and a half on the 1805 Treaty case, before they dropped the charges.

You can email the Mendota office too – mendotadakota@gmail.com, or call 651-452-4141

BB. Susu

Non Recognized Tribes in MN.

How can the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community become a Federal Recognized Tribe,who can help us?


My grandmother Lillian Felix at Carlisle Indian School.

I just came across the document at Carlisle Indian School. Lillian is in these articles. This is So Cool, I hope all my cousins see this. On the button of this page is Grandma Lilly and Grandpa Albert and there first son Albert Jr this picture was taken in Mendota. When Lilly came home to Mendota from Carlisle to visit her family, she met Albert LeClaire and never went back to Carlisles. They married and had 5 children.  Sharon

Juan Thomas, Edward Walker, Abbie Doxtator, Clarinda Charles, Daisy Wasson, Nellie Orme, Ida Wheelock, Matilda Jamison, Estaine Depelsquestangue, Lilly Felix, Alice Baker and Sosipatra Suvoroff, came from their country homes to spend Christmas, preferring this time to Commencement when there are such crowds.  They showed good sense.

January 6, 1899 Indian Helper

A surprise party was given in honor of Miss Annie Morton, ’98, who arrived Tuesday evening from her vacation.  The following girls were hostesses, Misses Young, Beale, Gibbs, Felix, American Horse, Warren, Jamison, Dolphus Brown, Wilber and Silverheels.  The evening was spent in playing games and music, watermelons being the finishing touch of the party.  Miss Nancy Cornelius, of Oneida, Wisconsin, Miss Sara Smith and Mrs. DeLoss were among the guests.August 18, 1899 Indian Helper
Mrs. DeLoss and Mrs. Wheelock are enthusiastic pupils of Mrs. Livingston and are rapidly acquiring the principles of scientific dress cutting and fitting.  The students who are learning the system are Sara Kennedy, Minnie Nick, Bertha Pierce, Katie Johnson and Lilly Felix.January 17, 1900 INDIAN HELPER
Quite a number of the girls have been giving little parties in their rooms to some of their friends. Among those was a wild rice party given by Hattie Miller and Alice Denomie. Those invited were Lillian Felix and Martha Hill. The girls enjoyed it as it reminded them of Wisconsin and Minnesota where wild rice is a native cereal.November 14, 1903 Red Man and Helper
Lilllan Felix says by postal that when she first arrived at her home in Minnesota, she was somewhat lonely, but now she is as happy as a bird, She misses the HELPER and orders it sent at once.July 29, 1904 RED MAN AND HELPER