Imagine growing up with no hopes, no dreams, no chance to succeed. Imagine your funeral being the highlight of your life.
This is difficult for most of us to imagine because even if we grew up in financially-challenged circumstances, we knew that if we worked hard enough we could get an education or get a job. But that’s not the reality for reservation youth. The teen suicide rate on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the home of the Lakota Sioux People, has reached staggering, epidemic proportions.
Pine Ridge is located in the poorest county in the United States. With the unemployment rate soaring towards 85%, it is a Third World country in our own backyard.
Kids out there live in desperately impoverished and oppressive conditions, over a hundred miles away from the nearest city.
The Mitakupi Foundation has been created to address this epidemic.
The word “Mitakupi” is Lakota for “my people” and symbolizes the Lakota philosophy that We Are All Related: all of creation is sacred, and all are children of the one Creator.
The mission of the Mitakupi Foundation is to create programs for reservation youth and to support the work of existing programs that give reservation youth the same support and opportunities that all other children in America have – the first and foremost being hope.
Spiritual Leader Ricky Gray Grass and Tribal Judge Saunie Wilson speak about teen suicide and living conditions on Pine Ridge.
Courtesy Of HOLY MAN: THE USA vs. DOUGLAS WHITE, Narrated By Martin Sheen.
In our inaugural programs this summer we are supporting a 500-mile Prayer Run that involves over 150 Lakota youth, working to get 20 flip cameras donated so we can do a film program with kids participating in the Run, and documenting the Run to create a short film as an educational and fundraising tool to bring awareness of this ongoing emergency to the public.
Our long term goals include creating reservation wide, year-round Youth Opportunity programs. These programs will include after-school and extracurricular programs for kids, counseling and tutoring, technical training, scholarship programs and in-school tracks of specialized study.
The Mitakupi Foundation is committed to supporting the Lakota People as a self-sufficient and sovereign nation. The social, economic, and political issues that the First Peoples of this land face are overwhelming, but focusing on the youth is a way to start the process of healing. All it takes is one generation to stop the cycle of despair and plant the seeds of positive change.
But we need your help!
Please join us in making this the first generation of hope for the modern day Lakota youth and all First Peoples of America.
CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible donation.