Wings Like Eagles, Inc.
...on Mission until the First are no longer last
Lakota Missions 2014
June 14-June 22, 2014

 

 

Wings Like Eagles is involved in ministry throughout the year, but our trips in June provide a great opportunity to bring multiple people, equipment, materials, and tools to tackle more aggressive ministry efforts.  This year, our June trip involved (3) huge Block Parties and (8) construction crews who implemented projects across the Reservation.  

(39) people drove over 3,000 miles, hauled over 30,000 pounds of material and supplies, served over (350) children through our block parties and completed a very aggressive list of project work.       

for For  For

CONSTRUCTION

This year, we brought (39) people, (18) of them had no previous Pine Ridge experience.  This many participants causes challenges in many areas such as transportation, housing, and meeting space.  However, this many talented individuals can really crank out some quality work!

We set a very aggressive goal to accomplish several large projects this year.  These projects included the installation of over 30,000 pounds of materials, cabinets, concrete, roofing, and lumber.  We replaced an entire metal roof on a home in Red Shirt as well as some ceiling drywall.  We also constructed several new decks, built several new and much-needed outhouses, renovated a kitchen with new paint, cabinets, countertops, and sink and we renovated a bathroom in another home for an elderly handicapped client.  We implemented further improvements to the entrance at the Wounded Knee Burial Site, re-roofed a barn, replaced sub-flooring, replaced trailer roofing and repaired electricity for several other clients.      

       

BLOCK PARTIES 

Our Block Party crew implemented a huge, successful Block Party at the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson for over (80) local children.  They enjoyed an inflatable dinosaur bouncer, free food and drinks, and (10) booths where they learned important information and received an overloaded bag full of take-home prizes from each booth!

This group also implemented a Block Party for the children of Red Shirt near the community gym.  Distance from other Reservation areas and from the nearest store/town causes these residents to really appreciate efforts like these!

The Block Party crew also pulled off another huge Block Party at the upper playground in Wounded Knee.  Over (100) children attended on one of those deep blue South Dakota days.  What a Blast! 

This year, our crew also took their show on the road with a new "Rolling Block Party" where they delivered crafts, snacks, toys, Salvation bracelets and a lot of love to the children who lived with the families who were our construction clients. Most of these children did not get the opportunity to visit one of the other Block Parties and they really appreciated this effort.     

CULTURAL EVENTS

Our primary purpose for this trip was to serve the physical and spiritual needs of others.  The ability to do that effectively is supported by an understanding of the culture and history of these fine people. 

Our group took advantage of several opportunities this week to experience the Lakota culture, while supporting local residents, artists, and historians. 

When we arrived at the Singing Horse Trading Post, Gus YellowHair showed many of our group how to erect a Tipi and he described for us the history behind the traditions associated with this type of dwelling.  He demonstrated etiquette related to erecting and using a lodge of this nature and we shared other Lakota stories and traditions.  The Tipi stayed with us all week so that anyone who wished could sleep there each night. 

On Monday & Tuesday night, our group enjoyed the rare opportunity to ride horses at the Singing Horse Trading Post and down the road with our friend Tyler.  What a treat to ride a former rodeo horse across the open prairie, on an Indian Reservation, on a clear blue South Dakota evening!  Also on Tuesday night, our group was treated to a roping demonstration by Rosie's friend Mark. Mark is a world champion bronc rider and was born and raised on a cattle ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation 

On Wednesday night, many of our group chose to attempt a hike to Camel's Back.  What a beautiful, deep blue day we had to exert ourselves and receive the reward of a beautiful view.   

Thursday night, we traveled to the Wounded Knee burial site for a discussion by Emerson & Jerilyn Elk.  Emerson's family has lived near this site for many years and he is able to give a very vivid and emotional account of the Massacre that occurred at this site in December, 1890.  This event virtually ended the freedom for the Northern Plains tribes.  That night, we also enjoyed a native meal with Emerson, his wife Jerilyn and their family at the burial site. 

Some of our participants also had the rare opportunity to enjoy some events that most visitors will never see due to their new friendships with Lakota friends.  Some of them were invited to attend an authentic Sweat Lodge service and related activities.  Others were treated to an afternoon horseback ride to see a Sun Dance site and other areas of the Reservation. 

The group was also able to enjoy buffalo, pronghorns, and wild burros as we ventured through Custer State Park on Friday.  The Wildlife Loop Road was quite a treat.

RELATIONSHIPS

An organization can be "charitable" just by delivering or shipping needed items to needy individuals.  That is certainly a worthy goal, but it is not enough for Wings Like Eagles to stop there.  We deeply value the relationships that we have been able to build with the children and families here in Manderson and Wounded Knee and across the Reservation.  Our Organization follows several families and dozens of children as we attempt to meet their needs.  This effort includes efforts to meet daily and monthly needs, as well as the provision of gifts on special occassions like Holidays and Birthdays. 

It is our earnest desire to build these relationships throughout the lives of these children and their relatives to do our part to help ensure their safety and well-being.  This commitment will require a great deal of effort and frequent visits over the years and this commitment is our greatest intention.