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Lakota Immersion Childcare's Fundraiser:

A Dream for the Future

Lakota's Photo
Lakota's Photo
Lakota's Photo
Lakota Immersion Childcare

THE STORY:

WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE’RE ABOUT

We at Iyápi Glukínipi / Lakota Immersion Childcare (www.lakotalearners.com) are attempting to raise funds for our "language nest"-style immersion daycare program here on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Our mission is to teach children on the Pine Ridge Reservation Lakota as a first language, in a nurturing and enriched childcare setting, as a basis for continued fluency throughout their lives, to be full participants in the revitalization of their heritage language. We opened our doors in November, 2012, and currently serve seven children and their families. Our policy is to accept children no later than their second birthday, in order start them at a pre-verbal age.

Our language nest is the first full-immersion early childhood daycare in Lakota Country. In future years, we plan to expand our program upward as the initial cohort reaches elementary school age, in order to include an elementary school curriculum (all in Lakota). The early childhood component will be retained permanently, in order to prepare first-language Lakota speaking children for the immersion school component. Our program also works with the parents of the enrolled children - none of whom are fluent speakers themselves - in order to increase their proficiency so that they can support their children's language use in the home as well.

GRIM STATISTICS

The Lakota language has plunged over the past 40-50 years, and is now in dire straits. Here on the Pine Ridge Reservation, fewer than 10% of tribal members are fluent Lakota speakers. The average age of a Lakota speaker is 68 years old – significantly older than the average reservation life expectancy. Furthermore, there are almost no fluent speakers of the language below the age of forty, and fluent-speaking children especially are essentially nonexistent. For those of us who consider ourselves language activists, our work is a constant struggle to keep the flame of hope burning.

Furthermore, the reservation in which we live is a place of extreme poverty. Shannon County, which encompasses the majority of reservation land, is the second-poorest county in the entire United States, with a per capita annual income of just $6,236. Eighty percent of reservation residents are unemployed (compared to 7.4% for the rest of the country, in the midst of one of the worst recessions of modern history). Half of our neighbors live below the federal poverty level, including 61% of children under the age of 18.

Being a child growing up on the reservation is hard. It seems that drugs, alcoholism, violence, broken families, and gangs are everywhere you look. In recent years, an epidemic of youth suicide has gripped this already-troubled community. Local organizations that deal with young people must work hard to give our boys and girls a sense of self-worth, individual and cultural pride, and hope that things can and will get better in the future.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

Our aim here, however, is not to depress you with bleak statistics – that is simply the reality here on the reservation, and the backdrop of the place where we hope our dream will take root.

We know how important the Lakota language is to the overall wellbeing of our communities. When the U.S. government and affiliated groups worked for over a century to stamp out Native American languages in the name of assimilation (Google “Native American boarding schools”), they were tearing the heart out of cultures that had existed for thousands of years. In looking at the social issues that we deal with on a daily basis on the reservation, the elders and others in the community are in agreement that the loss of the language is both a symptom and a cause of the collapse of a strong, functional Lakota society.

We believe that the language revitalization movement is important not just to save a language that could otherwise vanish from the face of the Earth, as so many Native languages on this continent have already. But it is also key to a sense of self for the young people; a sense of pride in one’s heritage, and a foundation on which to build a solid inner fortress of emotional wellbeing.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Finding funding for our program is an ongoing task. We have been relying primarily on grants and private donations, but they are harder to come by during these days of a slow economy. Many grant-making organizations are phasing out or reducing their grant programs, and people are donating less to charitable causes then they were a decade ago.

The funds we are looking to raise through this campaign are just part of our overall budget, but it will help us reach a critical amount needed to keep our doors open through the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who helps us reach our goal…we would love to exceed our ask amount, and get even closer to what we will need to raise for our overall budget!

Every day we spend with the kids gets them closer to fluency. We believe in the work we are doing so much, but we need others to believe in us. Can you help us to make our dream a reality?

NOTE: DUE TO A FISCAL SPONSORSHIP BY THUNDER VALLEY CDC, A LOCAL NON-PROFIT, ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

IMPACT

Darrel Kipp, indigenous language revitalization activist:

“Here’s a story: Parents did not teach the language because they loved us and they didn’t want us to suffer, to be abused, or to have a tough life. Because our parents loved us and our grandparents loved us, they tried to protect us from the humiliation and suffering that they went through [in the days of forced assimilation and boarding schools]. If you truly love your parents and grandparents, you can reconcile that…You can demonstrate your love for them by protecting and shielding the language in a different way. You can begin to embrace it, to use it, to foster it, to renew it, to teach it to your daughters, to teach it to your sons.”

How often do we encounter an opportunity to help bring a language back from the brink; to put it back in the mouths of children, where it has not been heard on a large scale since before many of us were born? We are so excited about this endeavor, so completely dedicated to its success, and so grateful to everyone who has helped – and will help – to make it a reality.

WANT TO HELP US IN OTHER WAYS?

If you have any questions, our website gives much more in-depth information on our program, in both the short- and long-term. Go to www.lakotalearners.com.

Also, please help us spread the word by posting our campaign link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, etc. Thank you! Even with modern technology, it is an added challenge to get the word out for a worthwhile project from such a remote location!

 Tóna óuŋyakiyapi héči wóphila tȟáŋka uŋkéničiyape ló. – Thank you to all of you who have helped us.

-- Matt and the rest of the Lakota immersion childcare staff, Advisory Board, and families

DONATE

To This Fundraiser

$5,125

MONEY RAISED
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  • Hilary Hammell

    $50

  • Genevieve Quinn

    $50

  • Adam Herling

     

  • Sean Jackowitz

     

  • Jessica Livingston

     

  • Alexie Rothman

    $50

  • Dermot Lynch

     

  • Burke Butler

     

  • Stephanie and Tom Seymour

    $500

  • Anonymous

    $25

  • Anonymous

     

  • Anonymous

    $500

  • Anonymous

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $25

  • John & Terri Porfilio

     

  • Lisa Horn

    $50

  • Tim Tymkovich and Sue Lyon

     

  • Joanne Yankovich

    $25

  • Freia Carlsson

    $50

  • Anonymous

     

  • Jerome A. Holmes

    $100

  • Andrew Prout

     

  • Barbara & Jack Dundon

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $50

  • Ben Lenzner

    $25

  • Rachel Smith

    $25

  • Qie Zhang

    $100

  • Lily Kay & Keya Wi Condon

    $200

  • Carl & Karissa

    $50

  • Mike Detwiler

    $20

  • Mark and Linda Thornton

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $100

  • Claire

    $35

  • Chris Zeitz

    $69

  • Bobby Baldock

    $100

  • Mary Anderson

    $500

  • nina

    $50

  • Helen Grady

    $100

  • Mary and Richard Grant

    $100

  • Joe Flood

    $75

  • John Willis

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $100

  • Mary Flood

    $100

  • Sara Allen

    $50

  • Katie King Schneider

    $50

  • Anonymous

    $25

  • Tom Walsh

     

  • Leah Epstein & Jason Freeman

    $50

  • Allison Slavick

    $50

  • Davine Sutherland

    $50

  • Barbara Baumgartner

    $50

  • Harris Hartz

     

  • Anonymous

    $500

  • Jane Benge

    $25

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85% Raised of $6,000 Goal

Fundraise for this Campaign

The Team: $5,125 TOTAL RAISED SO FAR

JOIN THE TEAM
Fundraiser Title

Lakota Immersion Childcare

Amount Raised

$3,311

 

55% Raised of $6,000 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Hilary Hammell

Amount Raised

$1,390

Fundraiser Title

Joe Flood

Amount Raised

$424

 

42% Raised of $1,000 Goal

Donor Comments

Jane Benge

Jane Benge

DONATION: $25

3 years ago

Anonymous

Anonymous

DONATION: $500

In Honor of Albert White Hat 3 years ago

Harris Hartz

Harris Hartz

4 years ago

Barbara Baumgartner

Barbara Baumgartner

DONATION: $50

In memory of Leo American Horse 4 years ago

Davine Sutherland

Davine Sutherland

DONATION: $50

'S e saoghal a th' anns gach cànan - there's a world in every language Scottish Gaelic supports Lakota! 4 years ago

Allison Slavick

Allison Slavick

DONATION: $50

In honor of Charlotte and Calliope. 4 years ago

Leah Epstein & Jason Freeman

Leah Epstein & Jason Freeman

DONATION: $50

4 years ago

Tom Walsh

Tom Walsh

4 years ago

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

DONATION: $25

4 years ago

Katie King Schneider

Katie King Schneider

DONATION: $50

4 years ago