RAPID CITY, S.D. — He Sapa Otipi stands for community center for the people of the Black Hills and that is exactly what they are trying to bring to Rapid City. The center is in the early stages of vision planning but is hoping to provide a number of different services to natives and non-natives in the area.
Beverly Warne, Organizer for He Sapa Otipi, said, “There will be activities for them, a gym hopefully where they can play basketball and other activities. Families can come and have wakes and funerals that we are traditionally embedded with. The youth will have a place to come, we’ll have an industrial sized kitchen where we can serve food to the children after school.”
The goal is to provide the youth in the community a safe place to go and learn about Native American culture and history.
“This is gonna be different in that way is that our lessons will be Lakota-based – our beliefs, our values, our spirituality,” Warne said.
Ha Sapa Otipi is looking for community feedback through an online survey to see what the public would like to see done with the community center.
Cante Heart, lead organizer of He Sapa Otipi, said, “We can’t do this without the voices of our community and we are doing this together for our communities. So we are asking input from everyone to come together as a community to move forward. And you know it’s up to us as Lakota people to be good relatives to be the next generation to create a better future for us.”
The hope is that the center can take advantage of any land swap agreements with the city. As of now the community center’s location and funding are still being worked out as the city and members of the Indian Boarding School Lands Projects come to an agreement.
A link to the survey can be found here.