For the community and for youth
In March 2012, the Safe House in Manderson was officially opened. Since then some building tasks have been completed, the tribal water system was installed in the house, and a lot of kids have had a place to sleep, eat, and be cared for. Recently I talked at length with Donna Jumping Eagle about the house. In addition to being a home for young people, it has rapidly become a center of the community. It is a neutral place where the community meets.
Known as the Owl Community, it is a community of Traditionalists. The people here are not about alcohol or drugs, they are about keeping traditions alive. Times are hard in this community. 215 kids live in this community and there will be nothing for Christmas this year. Donna said that both the small kids and the teenagers are much in need of boots, scarves, gloves, coats, socks, games. It is heartbreaking to listen to the people talk about the hardships they are enduring – going without meals, the scarcity of personal items. When they are able to get a few boxes of laundry soap in the community, the box is opened and portions poured into plastic bags giving everybody a little bit so that many people will be able to wash at least a load of clothes.
Marcus is typical of the older youth who come to stay here. Marcus is 20 years old and still in high school because he was not able to attend while he was living with his extended family. Marcus has been at the house for 6 months. The Jumping Eagles teach that there is a better life than what the kids may have experienced. They try to find them clothes that fit, encourage them to stay in school, keep them involved in activities that preclude drugs and alcohol, and encourage them to finish their education. Marcus has the benefit of the care and guidance he receives both at the Safe House and from Dale Pine, the High School coach recently featured in our newsletters. Donna says that “We are always about kids coming and going – we always have a place for them and they know they don’t have to be without a home.” There is much the kids need when they come to the Safe House. Usually they have only tattered sneakers – shoes not fit for winter weather or even every day wearing – hardly any clothes or personal care items. Right now, Marcus has only a pair of winter boots that someone gave him and he wears them every day.
Youth who come to the Safe House stay for varying lengths of time – as long as they need to have a place to stay. They always need clothes, food, blankets, bedding, coats, personal care items, and school supplies.
A women’s circle is being formed. The women will teach the youth how to make crafts, quilts, regalia, shawls, dance outfits. The group is also about being able to share, support and help each other. “The women learn that it is ok to be angry and cry – that it is part of healing. They learn to help each other and to share resources. The many things the women make help support the Safe House as well as their own families. The beadwork, quilts, clothing are sold through the Singing Horse Trading Post and other Tribal outlets.
You can help support the Safe House. Right now they need fruit, soap, personal items, lotions, laundry soap, clothes, shoes, coats. For Christmas it would be great if they could get gifts for both the young and the older kids – both those in the Safe House and those in the community. At our request, Donna submitted a list of their needs. The top of the list is rugs for the floor to keep the floor – and feet – warm. The area rugs that could serve this purpose costs about $400.00
If you can send an item on the list, please send to:
Donna Jumping Eagle, P.O. Box 231, Manderson, SD 57756 or if via UPS, BIA Route 33, 3 miles north of Manderson, Manderson, SD.
You can contribute toward the needs via Paypal or via check to:
PO Box 3209
Rapid City SD 57709
At Nape un Wawokiya (The Safe House), four women join with Donna Jumping Eagle each week in a sewing circle which is meeting several needs. For the women, it is time to meet without the men and children of their families so that they can share concerns, ideas, and feelings about Lakota life and traditions, along with their pot luck. They also share a calm time to discuss the needs of the community and come up with solutions; and because they adhere to the traditional Lakota value of sharing with others, they make an item to donate to someone in need each time they finish the piece on which they are working.
Presently, they are at work making Star Quilts and other types of quilts, baby blankets, and pillows, with plans to do much more.