Brave Heart Society  Cante Ohitika Okodakiciye

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Brave Heart Society Cante Ohitika Okodakiciye

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1. Brave Heart Society “Cante Ohitika Okodakiciye” “The most common way people give up their power is thinking they don’t have any”……..ALICE WALKER 2011- Brave Heart Grandmothers are taking their power back for the grandchildren!!

2. BRAVE HEART SOCIETY “Cante Ohitika Okodakiciye” Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux) Mission Statement To enhance and preserve the Dakota/Lakota Nakota culture for coming generations, thereby creating culturally resilient, strong, competent, worldly families with a strong foundation of values, morals and worldview. Revived in November 1994 Governed by Grandmother’s Circle Primary focus on recreating young girl and young men societies to relearn the culture and encourage them to pursue the 50 year vision of Brave Heart. Combat trauma and sexual abuse Promote tribal and food sovereignty Preserve Sacred Sites

3. Activities accomplished through support of 13 Grandmothers 10th Annual “Isnati Awica Dowanpi” Coming of age Ceremony for adolescent girls Food Sovereignty/Goodheart Garden Project planting/drying of traditional white corn Support of infrastructure building for Young Men’s Hunting Society Payment of Brave Heart Lodge Expenses (i.e.water/power,fuel expenses) Travel to take Spirit Smart Youth to perform/dance at Wacipi’s or Pow Wows(prevents alcohol use). Retreat for Brave Heart Grandmothers Repairs for Garden pickup Miscellaneous expenses at the Lodge for Brave Heart participants and their families such as food and supplies for anti-substance abuse activites and cultural renewal. Sacred Sites work(educ/monitors)

4. 10th Annual Coming of Age Ceremony for Adolescent girls Since 1994, Brave Heart has assisted 90 girls in experiencing this Sacred Rite. It is one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Seven Council Fires of the Dakota/Nakota/Lakota. Due to oppression, ceremonies such as this were outlawed and our ways were not seen as legal until as recent as 1978, with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The camp is on the Missouri. Many families could not afford the 4-day ceremony and due to cultural loss did not feel confident in delivering this rite of passage to girls who enter their first menses. Through this community camp, Brave Heart hosts this camp on an annual basis in July. Other tribal groups such as the Spokane Tribe of Washington and others have come and been inspired to revive their own rites of passage. This ceremony lays the foundation to respect selves, an important teaching for living in the “girl hating society” that exists in America.

5. Goodheart Garden Corn Planting and Drying Project “Padani” Ree Corn at Goodheart Garden 2007 A one-acre corn patch of white Ree “Padani” was planted this year. It was hand irrigated and produced a crop which was picked, prepared, frozen and dried by Brave Heart Youth. Some rows were left for seed for next year. Funds paid for gardeners, water for irrigating, gas for garden transport and lunch for gardeners. Although many Brave Heart grandmothers were raised with large gardens, many current youth have not had this experience in “food sovereignty” due to being placed in HUD housing areas and not having the land to plant gardens. In former days, the Ihanktonwan were known for trading corn and actually had a Planter’s Society. We hope to instill pride in youth for this reason.

6. Infrastructure building for Young Men’s Society Purpose of Young Men’s Society: “To restore the confidence in young Native men that they can be Good Hunters in today’s society, by being good providers, leaders, and be self-sufficient through education and holding jobs in their communities.” Those successful in providing for their families were taken through the “first kill”ceremony which teaches humbleness in life, by taking the life of a four-legged for survival and cultural purposes.

7. “Nagi Ksapa Youth for the Seventh Generation” “Nagi Ksapa” Spirit Smart Youth Groups Dakota Culture taught the importance of emotional growth long before the western concept of emotional intelligence was written about; the term was “nagi ksapa” or being spirit smart. For the last three years, these groups meet weekly on Wednesday nights to make outfits for youth who would not otherwise be able to afford or not have mentors to teach them how to make dance outfits and to learn the respectful behavior that goes along with being a dancer of the people. These youth are taken to pow wows or Wacipi’s during the summer to discourage alcohol abuse.

8. “Unci (Grandmother’s Circle) of Brave Heart Society Some funds were utilized for Grandmothers to meet, travel, plan and deliver Brave Heart Projects.

9. Sacred Sites & Cultural Preservation Work Brave Heart has partnered with the Yankton Dakota Tribe by providing trained Brave Heart Sacred site personnel to survey and monitor traditional Yankton Territory along the west and east bank of the Missouri River. Brave Heart youth are taken to Cultural Preservation Tribal meetings to learn federal historic preservation law and treaty knowledge in order to advocate for our tribal people into the future. Contracts from the US Army Corps of Engineers have been obtained. Staff have learned to utilize a Lakota/Dakota Taxonomy.

10. “Wopida” Thank you from Brave Heart Society in helping us to further our vision!!!

11. Brave Heart Needs to carry the vision forward for the 7th generation! Pickup/Insurance funding for sacred sites work Funds for Peacemaking/Spiritual Lodge (current lodge is a rental that leaks.) Staff positions for two to work with: 1)Adolescent girls at risk 2)Sacred sites work Communities & Funders are invited to visit us to see the needs and the progress we are making. Brave Heart Society, Box 667, 500 Union Street Lake Andes, SD 57356 605-487-7769/fax 605-487-6160 [email protected]

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