PHOTO: Simon Joseph

PHOTO: Simon Joseph

The word Mitakuye is Lakota for “My Relatives” and  represents 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 Mitakuye Foundation (formerly known as 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.

Since 2011 we have created and supported numerous programs including a 24 hour suicide hotline, The B.E.A.R.S. Program – which runs reading, art, suicide outreach & educational programming and provides emergency services to kids in need, The Annual 500 Mile Sacred Hoop Prayer Run, The Monthly Youth Arts Competition, The Thunderlake Boxing Program, The Arts Mentorship Program, and sponsorship of numerous youth suicide prevention events across the reservation.

We will be launching the Hoye Wayelo Summer Art intensives this year and are in post-production on a feature documentary film about the Sacred Hoop Prayer Run. The film mirrors our guiding philosophy which encompasses the idea that the solutions to most of the current problems the Lakota face already lie within their ancient traditions.

Many of the difficulties that the modern day Lakota deal with – like suicide, alcoholism, poverty, teen pregnancy –

are not inherently part of the Lakota culture. They are the terrible byproducts of colonization, oppression and genocide. Our work is to support the people and programs that not only help the youth to survive – but that help the youth to strengthen their cultural identities and turn to their traditions to tackle the difficult issues they face.

The Mitakuye 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. This is that generation!

But we need your help! Please join us in creating opportunities for reservation youth. Your donations are fully tax deductible!