The Sicangu CDC Health Initiative is a holistic Lakota community health program designed to put the health and future of our Native Nation back into the hands of the Tiwahe (family) and Oyate (people or nation).
This spring we supported an art challenge with Todd County 3rd-to-5th graders focusing on illustrating how students coped with the challenges of the past year.
The goal of this art challenge was to help get students thinking about mental health: how it is important, and how we can better sustain it. Students have shared their artwork with you, the community. Please take time to enjoy this art, and have conversations with your families about the importance of mental health and wellbeing.
Our approach to health is based on sustainable health practices and advocacy built on a Lakota framework and the value of self-sufficiency. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Initiative planned to do this through grassroots efforts to provide tools and education for families to maintain and improve their health.
Currently, the initiative has worked toward COVID-19 relief, through actions such as distributing sovereignty kits to tribal citizens, which contained cloth face masks created by local entrepreneurs, a thermometer with 100 probe covers, seed packets, gardening tools (such as a shovel, rake, and hoe), bulk dry foods (oatmeal, rice, beans, cranberries and almonds), Lakota coloring books with crayons, an electronic tablet (for participation in online classes), and a gift card to Turtle Creek (a local grocery store). These kits provided not only short-term relief, but also the tools for long-term independence.
Additionally, The SCDC Health Initiative was awarded funding from the WEND Collective to distribute 500 Health Kits to Elders, alongside resources for further COVID-19 relief programming. These Elder Kits contained a thermometer, Vitamin C gummies, face masks, a $25 gift card to Turtle Creek (a local grocery store), seed packets for gardening, and hand sanitizer. Our SCDC Americorps VISTAs and four high school youth volunteers assembled the kits.
The Health Initiative, too, partnered with the Tribe’s Elderly Nutrition Program to distribute the kits via contactless delivery across 20 communities. Additionally, over $60,000 in grocery gift cards were distributed to families in need.
These are just a few of the initiative's current and past project that lay the groundwork for future sustainable programming.