What We Do
Providing Empowerment and Support to the Lakota Community
We work in partnership with the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to achieve happier, healthier lives within the context of their remarkable and unique history and culture.
Our programs are dedicated to providing the tools and employment to bring healthy food, fuel, and cultural support to a tribe that suffers severe nutritional shortages in a food desert, lacks employment opportunities (almost 90% unemployment), and facilities to support children and the elderly culturally and in providing better living circumstances.
Allen Youth Center
The Allen Youth Center has been providing a safe and welcoming environment for children and families on Pine Ridge since 2015. There is always something going on at the Allen Youth Center!
Some offerings include:
- Classes and workshops on things like art, technology, and Lakota culture
- Homework help
- Special holiday events
- Recreational activities
- Healthy meals and snacks provided by the One Spirit Food Program
The youth employment program offers young adults the opportunity to leave the reservation to work and live in a new town for the summer to gain work training and experience new surroundings and activities.
Horse Spirit Camp
Horse Spirit Camp provides traditional Lakota horse activities to children and adults. While lessons include caretaking and riding, participants also learn about self-respect, responsibility, and self-confidence. The goal of these camps is to teach traditional Lakota culture and language to enhance physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
In partnership with the Sioux YMCA, Camp Marrowbone is a one-week summer camp for children to spend time outdoors and embrace Lakota culture. Activities include arts and crafts, hiking, outdoor sports, and water activities as well as traditional Lakota education and traditions.
Many homes on Pine Ridge rely on wood burning stoves as their sole source of heat and cooking fuel during below-zero winters. One Spirit hires Lakota workers, provides them with necessary equipment, then pays them to deliver harvested firewood to homes in need.
Connecting 10 to 15-year-olds from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with hosts in the Greater Boston area for 9 days of exploration and discovery, building friendships and engagement through shared activities of interest.
Charging Buffalo Meat Processing Facility
In 2016, we built the first and only meat processing facility on Pine Ridge Reservation, the Charging Buffalo Meathouse. The facility provides employment opportunities, helps bring back the buffalo herds, and provides healthy, traditional meat.
Food Pantries and Distribution
The Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest areas in the United States. With poverty and unemployment (up to 90%) come hunger, lack of healthy food alternatives, and concomitant health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. The despair of poverty also results in social ills such as drug and alcohol abuse, shorter lifespans, high suicide rates (especially among teens), and a feeling of hopelessness.
Okini Market and Family Sponsorships
Okini means sharing material goods, and many Lakota families share their belongings with others in their community. This sharing ensures that the needs of all Lakota are met while giving gently-used items a second life. In the spirit of okini, One Spirit supports two crucial programs: the Okini Market and the Okini List.