By: Dawn Vanzant, One Spirit Board Member
The Board has always supported and reiterated Jeri’s vision for creating independence and restoring self-reliance and dignity on the reservation. Basic human needs have not been addressed there for a long time, from lack of food, proper housing, and wood for fires to employment and support systems to nourish independence.
One Spirit has filled the gap with limited funding and has established itself on the reservation as a non-profit that can be trusted and counted on. But the reality has been we have been doing this without any long-term security that we can continue and/or build upon this success.
One Spirit has a vision of ending dependence and nurturing a new generation of children that can become leaders in their community the way it should be and was before reservations.
By providing safe places like the Allen Youth Center, healthy food, sports with the new basketball court, reintroducing culture like the Crazy Horse Ride, jobs, and fun activities like the summer camp, we enable a life that most families take for granted. More importantly, seeing the Buffalo House built, they are seeing dreams come true, giving them hope, which is the most important ingredient to change life on the reservation. But the Buffalo House still needs financial support so the dream does not die before them.
Each existing program needs to be backed long-term, and we need to have funds to expand upon our current programs, directed by the needs and dreams of the Lakota people.
The endowment fund can provide long-term support, but most importantly, I hope it will last for this generation and, beyond that, to create permanent change for the Lakota.
The endowment fund can restore these beautiful people to where they can lead again with pride, knowing we are standing behind them for years to come.
-Dawn Vanzant One Spirit Board Member