From its onset in 2005 the board of We’re All God’s Children knew they wanted to make serving Native Americans living in poverty in the US one of its priorities. After years of tireless research and reaching out to form relationships we were offered the opportunity to serve at a small Native run clinic on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Diabetes runs rampant on the reservation and many experience the devastating effects this disease has on the eyes. We were asked to host Vision Clinics offering free prescription eyeglasses to anyone in need.
This ministry continued for many years growing to include many schools located throughout the reservation. In 2015 we expanded our outreach to Cheyenne River Reservation, also located in South Dakota. In 2017 we decided to refocus our efforts by working with Native run organizations that were already making positive changes within their communities. This led to our involvement with the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) and a small tribal run school in the middle of a vast prairie – Takini School.
In 2019 we were honored to be designated as “family” by CRYP for our willingness to help out wherever there was a need. Our guiding words have always been “Giving a hand up, not a hand out.” These partnerships have allowed us to follow the leading of those who are part of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and encourage them as they work to make make positive changes while restoring the dignity of their people. Focusing on children helps to break generations of hopelessness and despair by offering hope for a brighter future.
The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation was created by the United States in 1889 by breaking up the Great Sioux Reservation in the 1870s. The reservation covers almost all of Dewey and Ziebach counties in South Dakota. In addition, many small parcels of off-reservation trust land are located in Stanley, Haakon, and Meade counties. The total land area is 4,266.987 square miles, making it the fourth-largest Indian reservation in land area in the United States. Its largest community is North Eagle Butte. Credit Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Vets http://www.crstvets.org
The Lakota (Sioux) acquired horses around 1740 and arrived on what is now the Cheyenne River Reservation in 1775. They depended on the buffalo for food, shelter and clothing. Buffalo hold great spiritual significance for the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people and are treated with the greatest respect.
The mighty Missouri River borders the eastern edge of the Cheyenne River Reservation, and the rugged Cheyenne River forms its southern boundaries. The stark, solitary beauty of the prairie is breath taking. In some places, you can drive for miles with only nature and wildlife as company. Cheyenne River Reservation is known for its buffalo herd of more than 900 that roam the plains.