A new indigenous mentoring program starts in Rapid City

Nonprofit Friends of Children mentoring program to begin.
Nonprofit Friends of Children mentoring program to begin.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A new Indigenous-led nonprofit mentoring program Friend of Children opens the first Native American “He Sapa” chapter in Rapid City.

The mentoring program is in partnership with the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The executive director of Friends of the Children says this will help ensure that youth are supported from age 4 through high school graduation.

The program will be centered around indigenous cultural life ways; from naming ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, healing camps, and intervention to support safety and stability for children and families while educating them in their culture and traditions.

“This is the first indigenous cultural specific site for friends of the children,” said Valeriah Big Eagle, the program’s executive director. “It’s really exciting to be the first chapter to do this, but we know as indigenous people how to help and serve our youth here. And it’s working with the community. It is integrating Lakota language and culture.”

This program is currently enrolling children and mentor-ship to help educate indigenous children.