FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Contact: Wizipan Garriott
Phone: (605) 856-5090
‘KEYA WAKPALA’ COMMUNITY TO BE PLANNED BY REDCO AT TURTLE CREEK – PUBLIC INVITED TO SAVE THE DATE AND COME OUT TO SHARE IDEAS ON NEW PROJECT
Community Visioning Meetings in Rosebud, SD and Mission, SD to spark direction on future decision-making for a new community-oriented development
Mission, SD– Community members from all walks of life are invited to come out to voice their opinions and share ideas as part of the beginning stages of planning for a new community development, called ‘Keya Wakpala’ (“turtle creek” in the Lakota language) on the Rosebud Reservation of south/central South Dakota. The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) will host two community meetings on Monday, September 30, 2013 at the Rosebud Community Center in Rosebud, SD (across from the powwow grounds) and on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at the Sinte Gleska University Multi-Purpose Room in Mission, SD. Doors will open at 5pm both days, with the meeting set to end by 8pm. Food/drinks as well as childcare will be provided.
“We are going to be on an exciting journey with the development of the Keya Wakpala project and we are counting on the people to help us make sure we are responding to their needs appropriately,” states Wizipan Little Elk, REDCO Executive Director. “We want to do this right, and that means including early on those who will eventually visit, support, work, learn, play and make a life in this community as it grows. We want to hear from anyone who has hope for a quality home, reliable employment, safe place for their kids, access to fresh food, lower utility bills, or supportive place to retire or grow old while still surrounded by a healthy, living community environment.”
The Keya Wakpala project will build off of the valuable input of community members and then link up with the various programs, services and funders who can help ensure the growth and sustainability of the master planned community, which REDCO intends to sustainably develop on the lands surrounding the Turtle Creek Crossing Supermarket west of Mission, SD. The ultimate goal of this project is to strengthen the sovereignty and self-sufficiency of the Sicangu Oyate (Burnt Thigh Nation) living on the ancestral homelands of the Great Lakota (Sioux) Nation as well as provide for all people who wish to live and work in support of Lakota lifeways and populations.
“This effort is meant to be inclusive from the very start. We are reaching out to our community leaders, spiritual leaders, elected officials, tribal programs and many more,” emphasized Little Elk. “This is a very large project and will take some time, but we have to start building the broad base of shared knowledge and understanding across all areas now if we are to have a solid shot at success.” In this spirit of collaboration, the community meetings have been designed to be flexible, interactive and fun. After a brief overview of the project location and introduction of the REDCO team, attendees will work together to start defining the values and goals for the Keya Wakpala project. There will be many opportunities to share, talk and listen as the path towards making the Keya Wakpala project happen.
Those who live, work or do business on the Rosebud Reservation are invited to attend. For more information on the Keya Wakpala Community Visioning Meetings starting at 5pm (both days) in Rosebud, SD at the Community Building on Monday, September 30, 2013 and in Mission, SD at Sinte Gleska University on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 please call REDCO’s main office at (605) 856-5090 or drop by REDCO’s offices located at the AERI facility just east of Sinte Gleska University at 101 Research Park Drive, Mission, SD 57555.
About the ROSEBUD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION:
REDCO is a chartered corporation owned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and managed by an independent Board of Directors for the purpose of generating revenue for the Tribe and promoting economic development. Through business management and development, policy development, and community development, REDCO works to create employment, strengthen the local economy, and provide self-sufficiency for the Sicangu Lakota Oyate. For more information please call (605) 856-5090.
KEYA WAKPALA DEVELOPMENT – BRIEF HISTORY:
In 2013, the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) and project partners committed to the pre-development for a sustainable development on the 600 acres of tribal land comprising the Keya Wakpala Green Development area. The commitment partners will create a master plan for a sequence of projects and multiple phases of construction for a mixed-use development at Keya Wakpala which may include renewable and distributed energy, energy efficiency housing, community supportive facilities, new businesses, and infrastructure projects. After master planning is completed, the project will be accomplished in multiple implementation phases over a longer span of time (15-20 years).
Keya Wakpala is also part of a commitment made to the Clinton Global Initiative at the 2013 CGI America conference held in June 2013. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 200 commitments valued at $13.4 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.
In 1989 the Chauncey Eagle Horn Legion Post served as Color Guard for the groundbreaking ceremonies held for the new school built in St. Francis, SD
Chauncey Eagle Horn Post 125 is hosting a membership drive for the American Legion in Todd County on Tuesday September 17, 2013. The meeting will take place at the JDC conference room at the facility in Soldier Creek at 6pm CST.
The American Legion focuses on service to Veterans, service-members, and the communities that we live in. We are looking to become active in our communities once again and really want to focus on developing our youth into our next generation of leaders.
The eligibility criteria for membership in the American Legion is as follows.
One day of honorable service in the following campaign eras:
Desert Storm/Iraq/Afganistan: August 2, 1990-PRESENT
Panama December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990
Lebanon/Grenada August 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984
Vietnam February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975
Korea June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955
WWII December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
WWI April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
The American Legion has been active amongst the Sicangu Oyate since December 1919. Chauncey Eagle Horn Post 125 is the oldest post. The others include Phillip Stands Post 297 of St. Francis, John Guerue Post 295 of Parmelee, and Mission Post 287.
A special invitation is being extended to all Veterans who have served since August 2, 1990. This would include those who served during the eras of Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991), Somalia (1992-1994), Bosnia (1995-1996), Kosovo (1999), Operation Iraqi Freedon (2003-2011) and Afghanistan (2001-Present).
One does not need to have been awarded a campaign medal. You only have had to serve on active duty, for ONE DAY during the above eras.
For further information contact Dion Reynolds at 605-319-0237 or Eugene Ironshell, Jr. at 720-357-9916.
Historical Overview of
The American Legion
Chauncey Eagle Horn Post 125
Rosebud, South Dakota
By Eugene S. Iron Shell, Jr.
This post traces its lineage to World War I. In 1917 the United States entered the war against Germany and many Native Americans enlisted in the United States Army and Navy. It is interesting to note that at this point in history the Lakota people were not yet considered “U.S. citizens.”
Among the many Lakota men who stepped forward to serve was Chauncey Eagle Horn. He was born in 1874 and his home of record when he enlisted was in Okreek. When he volunteered he was 42 years old but chose to serve as an infantryman.
Chauncey was assigned to Company “M”, 167th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division. This division was nicknamed the “Rainbow” Division because their shoulder insignia was a Rainbow.
Chauncey was killed in action on July 29, 1918 in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France. He was the first man to be killed in action from any Tribe of the Great Sioux Nation and was eventually buried in Okreek at Calvary Episcopal Cemetery.
The American Legion was chartered by the United States Congress on September 16, 1919 and its members were comprised of the millions of returning WWI veterans. Interestingly a caucus of Veterans actually met in France during the War to discuss forming a national Veterans organization.
A group of Sicangu Lakota WWI veterans got together and wanted to start an American Legion post on the Rosebud Reservation. On December 2, 1919 Post 125 was granted their charter by the Department of South Dakota American Legion. Stephen Spotted Tail (Grandson of Chief Spotted Tail) was the first commander. Other founding members were Charles and Isaac Iron Shell (Grandsons of Chief Iron Shell), Jake LaPointe, Herbert Omaha Boy, and others. They named the new post after their friend and fallen comrade, Chauncey Eagle Horn. It is interesting to note that Herbert Omaha Boy had also fought with Company M 167th Infantry in France and witnessed Chauncey’s death.
The Post has been in continuous existence since their inception in December 1919 and is one of the oldest posts in the United States. In 2019 they will be recognized by the Department of South Dakota as a “centennial post.”
Over the years many men and women have served Post 125. Many of our leaders of the modern era have served in the Post. Some of them were Robert Burnette, Cato Valandra, and many others. Some joined as their fathers did like Sylvan Spotted Tail (son of Stephen Spotted Tail) and Eugene Iron Shell, Sr. (son of Charles).
One of the most outstanding members to serve was Frank LaPointe, Sr. A veteran of the United States Navy, he served during the Viet Nam War and for many years was the post adjutant. His position as adjutant was of great importance as this person is the one who handles the complex administrative functions and virtually holds the post together. Frank served with distinction in this billet up until his untimely death in 1992. Mr. Lapointe also served as a St. Francis Indian School board member and tribal councilman for Rosebud Community. In many ways the Post has not been the same since he left and is still greatly missed.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s many of the active members of the post passed away. The post struggled to maintain its membership. This was a common challenge faced by many small town legion posts as the WWII generation passed in as many as 1,500 deaths per day across the United States. Men like Melvin Peneaux, C.P. Bordeaux, Marchmont Lapointe, Leonard Standing Cloud, Calvin Valandra, Herb Decory, and Ralph Clairmont made lasting contributions to Post 125 that have not been forgotten.
Jim LaPointe led the Post into the new millennium. Chris Bordeaux was the Post adjutant. Eugene Iron Shell, Sr. was the vice commander and also served as the Todd County Commander. Other active members during this period were Louie Schmidt, Harvey Jordan, Sylvan Spotted Tail, Dwayne White Thunder, Robert Reynolds, Leroy Decory, Charles Mack, Webster Two Hawk, Sam Wounded Head. There are currently three life members of the post. They are Lt. Col Arlene Lomax, USMC, Retired, Ronald Valandra, and Hubert Dillon.
After the passing of Jim LaPointe in 2008, Eugene Iron Shell, Sr was appointed the commander and remains to this day. Chris Bordeaux is still the post adjutant. The current active members of the post (Eugene Sr, Chris Bordeaux, Robert Reynolds Charles Mack) should be commended for holding the post together. The other area legion posts have virtually ceased to exist but somehow the spirit of Chauncey Eagle Horn Post 125 lives on.
The responsibility and duty of carrying on the Post legacy is about to be presented to the new generation of Veterans. Those who have served in the eras of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom will soon be appointed as leaders to carry out the work of the American Legion in the communities on the Rosebud Reservation.
Education is very important. I believe the only way we can get ahead in today’s society is to finish school. An education is the most potent weapon you can carry today. An educated Lakota can be on the same intelligence level as anyone else in this world.
To master the educational system of the oppressor is an extremely effective form of protest, in my opinion. You can use your college degree to fight the system put in place to keep you in a state of poverty. The oppressor wants us to all give up and quit school. And as long as we remain dependent upon the oppressor they will continue to control our lives. Don’t you want to be independent?
There are many Lakota people who have, for whatever reason, dropped out of high school. Many of you who quit high school did not enroll or finish a General Educational Development (GED) program either. There are many tribal members in Rosebud who cannot find steady work because they don’t meet the minimum educational requirements. Most of the jobs advertised by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or a GED.
I realize the local schools are lacking a lot. There is no motivation for many of our students to remain in school. Bullying is rampant in our schools. And even though there are many dedicated staff members employed by our schools, there are many others who shouldn’t be working in our schools at all. School staff should be positive role models encouraging students to learn.
I worked in a school system for many years. The best part of working there was the students. They always had something to teach me. Our elementary, middle and high schools exist to serve the students. But most schools on the Rez are more focused on the drama created by the adults than they are on the students. Oftentimes, a school board will vote in staff/faculty/policy which is not in the best interest of the students. Yet, politics are politics and school boards are far from being above petty political maneuvers.
When you drop out of school you are setting an example for your peers to follow. You show your friends and younger siblings that it’s okay to quit school. But believe me, you will regret dropping out of school when you can’t find a job and have to depend on others to pay your way through life. We all need money to survive in this cash economy. In order to make money you will need a job. You will never get a good paying job when you are a high school dropout.
High school was a difficult time for me. It is usually a difficult time for us all. It was hard to finish high school but I knew if I dropped out I would be limiting the choices I had in life. I stuck it out and graduated with a high school diploma. And even though it took me many years I also graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree. The time I spent in school was well worth it because now my education carries me through life. I would never have made it this far in my life without a college education.
When my children were small I depended on financial assistance from the tribe and state to make ends meet. But when my children grew into adults and started families of their own the public assistance ended. I had to pay my own way. My college education will always be there to help me find a job. I have chosen to remain on the Rez so it takes time to find a job but a college degree always gives you an added advantage. My education is something no one can ever take away from me.
Furthermore, working for your own money will allow you to stop depending on public assistance programs. It’s also great for your self-esteem! Paying your bills with the money you earn by working is a way to feel good about yourself. Education is the key to a lot of things in life. One door having an education can open for you is to be hired for a job which pays enough for you to be self-supporting.
I realize we live in one of the poorest counties in the nation. Personally, I am sick of living in a county which is famous for how poverty stricken it is. One way to protest this is to become self-sufficient. That is, I believe it is a form of protest to work yourself away from dependence upon tribal and state assistance programs. I am so glad that I do not have to deal with all the rude workers in the social services office anymore!
I am not trying to degrade my fellow tribal members who depend on public or tribal assistance programs to make ends meet. We do live in an extreme poverty area. But we all have control over their own lives. You can always choose to finish school. It’s really hard to study. It’s really hard to have a job where you have to be there every day. It’s difficult to do many things when you lack financial resources, dependable transportation and child care. But the rewards you receive in terms of being self-sufficient are priceless.
This week we will see many of our beloved children making their way back to the classroom. Many of our students are motivated to begin their quest for an education. Most are genuinely committed to receiving an education. They are looking forward to another academic year in the classroom. Please encourage them to stay motivated and support their efforts to finish school.
We desperately need our Lakota people to become educated. Our future is in our children. I want them to be self-sufficient. It is a fact that some families have not worked at jobs for two or three generations. Is this the future you want for your great-grandchildren?