Imagining the New Whiteclay - Day 1

Senators Tom Brewer and Patty Pansing Brooks welcome attendees

Senators Tom Brewer and Patty Pansing Brooks welcome attendees

Tonight was the beginning of our Whiteclay Summit. The Summit has brought together a diverse group of state legislators, attorneys, budding Lakota entrepreneurs and seasoned business people, a grant writer, media, artists, a pastor, and directors of non-profits and community members. This diverse group has one thing in common: a heart to see Whiteclay transformed to provide jobs, housing, education, much needed services, treatment, and ultimately for Whiteclay to be a place of healing and hope.

We attendees were welcomed by Bruce, and senators Tom Brewer and Patty Pansing Brooks. The results of a survey asking about residents of the Reservation’s hopes for Whiteclay’s were shared and entrepreneurs and community members shared their visions and hopes for Whiteclay in a panel discussion.

Dave Rooks of Oyate Parks shared the essential role of parks in developing pleasant communities and good economies. He encouraged the development of parks reminding attendees that we are in a war (against suicide, crime violence and division), and that parks “shape the battlefield” Chris Cuny a Lakota entrepreneur shared a video presentation and talked about his vision for a modern tipi village and an aviary.

The best part was the networking. I was awesome to see people get excited and connect on their shared dreams and passions. Overall that first meeting was a big success. And we are looking forward to even greater things tomorrow! 

 
Panelists Billy Janis, Stephanie Clifford, Andrea Northup, and Nadine Morrison share their visions for Whiteclay. 

Panelists Billy Janis, Stephanie Clifford, Andrea Northup, and Nadine Morrison share their visions for Whiteclay. 

 

Straw Bale Gardens 2017

Contribute to the project

Once again we are planting straw bale gardens for families on the reservation. Straw bale gardens are an excellent way to promote both self-sufficiency and health on the Reservation. 

A bountiful harvest from our straw bale gardens

A bountiful harvest from our straw bale gardens

Straw bale gardens are an excellent technique for gardening in an environment where soil quality vary. The treatment technique that we use on the straw bales makes the straw nitrogen rich. When the roots hit the straw, the plants shoot up. Additionally, the straw retains moisture well and perhaps best of all there are no weeds!

This year we have adjusted our price to $180 per garden. This price includes everything: seeds and seedlings, straw bales, hoses, trellises, fertilizer, soil, and more. The biggest thing that we are doing different this year is hiring two young Lakota men. These young men will be able to provide them with employment and they in turn will help us get the project done in a timely manner. 

Join us in providing a hand up to our Lakota neighbors and promote self-sufficiency on the Reservation. 

Contribute to the Project

Personal Profile - Arley Dreamer

This is the second post in a series of personal profiles of the "risen warriors" of Whiteclay. After Marsha Bonfleur wrote this story she read it with Arley who suggested a few revisions and approved the article to be published. 

Out of Whiteclay

Bruce and I had been invited to share our heart for the Lakota Nation with the members of Heartland Worship Center in Camdenton, Missouri. Bruce was getting ready to speak when David Williams, a Heartland member, asked if he could deliver this Word the Lord had given him at 5:30 on the morning of April 19, 2016: “Out of White Clay will come holy sacred vessels that will take healing waters to other indigenous peoples.” As he spoke these words out, I clearly saw the face of Arley Dreamer.

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Ihanbla Wakinya – Thunder Dreamer (Arley) grew up in a typical Lakota family. He and his six brothers were raised for several years by their father when their mother left the reservation, fleeing the dysfunction of alcoholism and abuse and searching for things she felt were missing in her life in Pine Ridge. Ten years later she returned, bringing with her a newly-found faith in Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The emotional damage done to her family during her absence, however, was not easily erased nor quickly healed. Like so many children – regardless of their skin color or economic status – Arley was easy prey for the enemy of his spirit and soul during those formative years.
Better known to many Whiteclay visitors as “Harley”, Arley has been a Risen Warrior on the street for all years we’ve been here. His crazy hats, wigs, masks and wildly unconventional clothing make him easy to spot on the street as he sings songs in his language while his kola (friend) Alvin Janis dances. He is a tall man with a deep resonance in his voice that commands the attention of everyone around him.  But it’s not his booming voice or the yellow yarn braids perched crookedly on top of his head that puts Arley at the center of groups of white teenagers every summer. Instead, it’s the Bible stories he shares with anyone who will sit and listen that make him a celebrity to the thousands of teens and adults alike who visit the Lakota Nation.
To say that Arley takes literary license when he recounts the stories of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist or Jonah and the whale is an understatement. In the RAV (Revised Arley Version), Jesus’ disciples are His “gang” and the whale that swallows Jonah is named “Free Willy.” And depending on how many cans of beer he’s been able to score on the street that day, seasoned students of the Word can be offended when Arley’s embellishments sneak over the line of humor into crude language and borderline blasphemy. 
Unless they’re here week after week, year after year, however, Whiteclay visitors don’t see the real man behind the masks. Most people don’t know that Arley always waits until after the group of sometimes 350 people at our N.O.A.H. evenings eat before he will fix a plate for himself. When Bruce asked him why he does that, he responded, “The chief always makes sure his people eat before he does.” They also wouldn’t know that Arley gives a staff, war club or other traditional work of art that he makes to the team leaders with whom he makes a connection during their mission trip. 
One evening this summer, Arley came early for a special event held in the arbor when the Holy Spirit prompted me to tell him about the Word from the Lord. When I read it and told him I’d seen his face when it was delivered, Arley’s response was, “Read it again.” He had me read it four times and then said, “Do you know why I tell the stories from the Bible the way I do? I do it so my People will listen. If I read it to the people on the street out of the Bible, they will just walk away. When I tell it my way, they listen and laugh, but at least they hear the message.”
Like many other men and women on the street in Whiteclay, Arley knows the Lord. His body is addicted to alcohol, but his spirit is alive with the knowledge of Jesus’ unconditional love for him and for his People. Today Arley told Abram he wants to go to treatment. I don’t know where he will be by the time you read this. It is my heart’s cry that he will be well along on the path to becoming “a holy, sacred vessel who will take healing waters to his People – the Lakota Nation – and then to other indigenous peoples.” Please stand in faith and in agreement with me that Ihanbla Wakinya – Thunder Dreamer (Arley) will become the powerful Lakota warrior God created him to be. Let it be so, Lord. Let it be so.

Written by Marsha BonFleur

Christmas Wreaths for Sale

Once again we are selling our handmade Christmas wreaths. This year we have decided rather than cutting branches off trees we will recycle artificial trees. We blend the branches from multiple styles of Christmas trees to make one beautiful wreath. Unlike last year's wreaths, these wreaths stay good year after year. All the wreaths feature a dream-catcher center and a feather. 

Why we make the wreaths

First off making wreaths employs several native men, giving them the means to provide for their families and to buy gifts for Christmas. In addition, wreath sales provide money for Lakota Hope to continue ministering to the Lakota people. 

24-28 inch wreath is for sale for $35

+ $15 shipping 

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32-36 Inch Wreath is for sale for $45

+$15 shipping

Grow2gather Exchange

Artist's Development Program Expands 

Lakota Hope is continuing in its effort to serve the Lakota people through economic development programs. Our Grow2gather program is well underway: our online store at buynebraska.com is continuing to expand and our micro-lending program is ready to launch its first round of loans for events, allowing artists to buy booth spaces, raw materials, cover related food/lodging costs, etc. for local and regional events such as fairs, art shows, and pow wows.

We will soon be launching a new part of our Grow2gather program: The Grow2gather Exchange. The Exchange will buy raw materials for artists at wholesale prices, and hopefully, take in some materials as donations. Participating artists and crafters can then buy materials with ‘points’ earned through involvement in various aspects of the program. The Grow2gather Exchange will help give our artists yet another tool to rise into self-sufficiency.

We asked the artists what materials they wanted in the store: Here is a comprehensive list of items we can use. If you would like to help us stock these items, send them (or a designated monetary gift) to Lakota Hope at:

P.O. Box 55,
Whiteclay, NE 69365.

Or you can send a designated donation through Paypal

Supplies Needed:

Beadwork

  • Glass seed beads (on shanks) sizes #10, #11, #12, #13 especially blues, yellows, black, red, white.
  • Pony Beads (glass is best plastic works too) all colors
  • Beading needle multipacks: sizes #10, #12, #13, #16
  • Beading thread: large and small spools
  • Brass cones
  • Brass beads
  • Bone hairpipe beads and spacers

Quilting

  • Needles: All sizes
  • Thread: All colors
  • Batting
  • Bias: All colors
  • Satin material: All Colors
  • Broadcloth/backing
  • Rotary cutters
  • Large cutting boards

Leatherwork

  • Leather any colors (Used leather coats, vests etc. are a great source for leather)
  • Leather needles
  • Awls
  • Sinew large and small spools’
  • Hides

2-Dimensional Art

  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paints all colors
  • Watercolor paints all colors
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Pastels
  • Fixative spray
  • Wood-burning tools

Misc.

  • Deer antlers
  • Wire Hoops: 3-4” diameter
  • Wire clothes hangers
  • Wooden dowels 1/2” to 3/4”
  • Wine Corks (used by beaders to make key chains)

Lakota Hope at the Pow-Wow

Lakota Hope is bringing local artists into the main arena at the Pow-Wow as part of our Grow2gather program. 

Lakota Hope is running a booth at the Oglala Nation Pow-Wow! (August 4-7) We are using the event to boost some of our artist's businesses and to familiarize members of the program with our program.

Our program called "Grow2gather" is an economic development program that aims to help artists turn their creativity and skills into thriving businesses. Promoting economic self-sufficiency has been a long-time focus at Lakota Hope: Bruce's initial call from God was "I want to use you along with others to bring dignity to my people, and I want you to do it through the creation of jobs" Although Bruce didn't initially know who God meant by "my people," that calling has been on his heart since the beginning. 

Our work with artists and crafters is biggest economic development project Lakota Hope has ever undertaken. We are partnering with an established Nebraska non-profit called Grow Nebraska.

Together we are connecting artists with new markets, providing training, making art supplies more accessible, and creating micro-loan programs. 

A parfleche knife by Juan Espinosa on buynebraska.com

We connect artists to two types of markets: First, we provide physical venues such as our Tuesday night programs "Night of Another Hope" or our booth at the Pow Wow. Second, we are working on getting our artists work online to sell. We are currently uploading our items to Grow Nebraska's site buynebraska.com Providing the online space to sell is crucial because artists have difficulties selling their work once the summer tourists and mission teams are gone. 

With the help of Grow Nebraska, we will be teaching business skills to some of the artists. Grow Nebraska's team will help us provide training in marketing, computer skills, and the administrative side of business. We will also be using our computer lab to facilitate GED classes. 

Another resource we will be providing artists with is a raw materials store. The stores around the Reservation over price their materials. We plan to buy wholesale beads and resell the beads to artists at a very low markup from a small store in our office. 

Finally, we have a grant that will help us set up micro-lending groups. These groups of artists will manage a small sum of money that they can loan to members of the lending group. This will open up new opportunities by allowing members to borrow money for art supplies, booth spaces at big events, etc. 

We are excited to see artists and crafters building steady businesses through our program. 

If you are in our area, stop at our booth at the Pow-Wow. If you can't make it you can still support some of our artists by buying online at buynebraska.com

If you are a Lakota artist interested in our program contact Bruce BonFleur at (308) 360-2747

 

Personal Profile - David Whiteface

This is the first post in a series of personal profiles for those on the streets in Whiteclay. We hope that series gives a new perspective on the situation in Whiteclay Each person has their own story, their own struggle, and their own dreams. 

David Whiteface - A Warrior's Return 

By Marsha Bonfleur

David has spent every day of the past four years of his life drinking on the streets of Whiteclay, but no one noticed. Unlike the other regulars on the street, David is not loud; he is not crude; he is not violent. Instead, he is a man with a quiet spirit who drinks his beer leaning against “his spot” on the fence every morning until the afternoon sun chases him across the street to his spot of shade. To the casual onlooker, David is invisible.
One Tuesday night, during our weekly N.O.A.H. dinner time, David was sitting alone with an almost empty paper plate. He isn’t someone I would usually search out, but the gentle voice of the Spirit said, “Pray for him.” I sat down next to him, fully expecting him to get up and walk away, and asked if he would like me to pray. He quickly bowed his head, and even though his baritone voice has the ability to easily be heard in a crowd, I had to strain to hear his soft reply. He simply said, “Yeah, I wanna see my son.” He went on to explain that on the day his wife was buried four years ago, he left the funeral, walked from Pine Ridge across the Nebraska border to Whiteclay and never returned. “Now I can’t go back. They won’t let me see him because I’m a drunk.”
As I put my hand on his head to pray, I felt a gentle warmth and envisioned the Holy Spirit trickling down, flooding through his body, washing away decades of hurt. I prayed that God would hear his cry, heal his ravaged body, and remove the searing pain that had held him in bondage far too long. I asked that he would be restored to his family, and that he would become the strong Lakota warrior and father God had created him to be. Trying to hide his tears, he whispered a quick, “Thanks,” and got up to leave. As I watched him walk away, God placed a confident assurance in my heart that things would never again be the same for this gentle man.
That awareness was confirmed a few weeks later when an acquaintance from Tulsa felt led to stop by unexpectedly for a visit. He was on a tight schedule but took the time to walk the street and pray with our Warriors. Quite unexpectedly he called to say that he was taking one of the men to City-County Detox in Rapid City. It wasn’t until later that evening that I learned the man he took to treatment was David. Suddenly, I knew that although he was invisible to the rest of the world, his Creator had never lost sight of David.
During the next week, I spoke with David, his detox counselor, and the intake coordinator at a nearby¬¬ 30-day treatment facility several times each day. Every form was completed, every test was checked and double-checked; every provision was made to ensure a seamless transition from detox to treatment. When he arrived, however, he was denied entrance. It was at that moment I realized that David was indeed no longer invisible – he was on Satan’s radar as well. 
The past several months have been grueling as we’ve fought to get David a birth certificate, a tribal ID number and a social security number. To date, we have been able to secure everything he needs in order to be admitted to treatment except his social security card; it has been months since we sent in the paperwork. Just when God knew he needed encouragement, however, David’s 12 year-old son’s guardian brought him to Whiteclay – it was the first time they’d seen each other since the funeral four years ago. This has made David’s resolve unshakable. Every time he sees me checking the mail, he waits, and every time I have to tell him it hasn’t arrived, he says, “I hope it comes tomorrow. I gotta get outta here.” David’s prayer is to be able to raise his son to be a football player, to go to college, to have a life-sustaining job – all the things he’d hoped his life would be.
We firmly believe that God will make a way where there seems to be no way for David. We firmly believe that God is lining up every circumstance; that on exactly the right day David’s social security card will arrive and that he will be admitted to the right detox/treatment facility. We firmly believe that David will then be able to return to be a father to his son. We firmly believe that God will restore David to be the strong, Lakota warrior He created him to be – a man who will stand for and lead others to know Jesus as their Savior.

Would you please add your prayers with ours and stand firm with us in confident assurance until that day?