Where We’ve Been

September 2018

Sinte Gleska University Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Society of Care 

In August, NICWA staff, Barbara Gladue (Anishinaabe) and Adam Becenti (Diné), visited the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota to work with the Sinte Gleska University Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi “Bringing the Family Back to Life” Society of Care. As a technical assistance provider and partner, NICWA has been supporting the ongoing development of Sinte Gleska’s children’s mental health system. The two-day site visit focused on topics such as team building and sustainability planning. While in Rosebud, NICWA staff also caught a glimpse of the creative ways Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Society of Care has been serving their Native youth.

On the first day, Barbara and Adam facilitated interactive activities focused on improving team cohesion among the Society of Care staff. The group pieced together a detailed puzzle without verbal communication for one activity. Another activity focused on enhancing communication skills through non-verbal movement. Mindful, non-verbal communication is critical for working in a mental health setting. These activities encouraged Society of Care staff to visualize how they can better work together in serving youth.

During the site visit, NICWA staff were fortunate to observe Sinte Gleska’s young boys equine camp, or warrior camp, at Sinte Gleska University Horse Ranch. The week-long camp teaches Native boys horse riding, knife safety, whittling and throwing a spear, and the roles and values of being a young Lakota man. Duane Hollow Horn Bear, the cultural counselor, called the young boys “warriors” to instill a strong sense of confidence and identity. The equine camp is one way the Society of Care is reconnecting Native youth to Sicangu Lakota language and values.

The visit was wrapped up by sharing ideas on sustaining programming through inter-agency collaboration and blending funds. Before leaving, Barbara and Adam were given the opportunity to ride horses at the horse ranch. While riding with the young boys from camp, they experienced the power, spirit, and healing of a horse. It is this same power, spirit, and healing that Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi Society of Care continues to spread to improve the lives of their Native youth.

The most powerful part of our visit for me was visiting the horse ranch and observing horse camp. We got to see how the Rosebud tribal community is changing the lives of their youth through language, cultural teachings, and love. It really underscored the value that it is okay to ask for help and it doesn’t make you less than to do so.

Adam Becenti (Diné)

Community Development Specialist