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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 1, 2002 - Issue 62


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SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club Grand Opening in Pine Ridge, South Dakota Marks Major Milestone

New Boys & Girls Club Facility Recognizes
Community’s Most Valuable Asset – the Children

SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club logoPINE RIDGE, SD - May 28, 2002 – There will be much to celebrate for the residents of Pine Ridge, South Dakota on Saturday, June 1. Boys & Girls Clubs of America (B&GCA) announces the Grand Opening of the new state-of-the-art SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club.

The celebration is expected to draw a large turnout, including tribal government officials such as John Steele, Oglala Sioux president; Kelsey Begaye, Navajo Nation president; Tex Hall, Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota Tribal chairman and president of the National Congress of American Indians; and Greg Bourland, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal chairman. Senator Tom Daschle (South Dakota), as well as several federal, state, and local officials are also expected to attend.

The completion of the 30,000 square foot facility (which includes a soccer field, an indoor regulation pool, a multipurpose gymnasium, and a library/technology center) marks the success of a unique two-year strategic collaboration between B&GCA, the existing SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club, the Oglala Lakota community, and various federal agencies. It also signifies the beginning of a new era for the children and adults of Pine Ridge as the Club transitions to a new building with expanded services.

The SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club was originally opened in 1992 – the first Boys & Girls Club established on Native American lands. Named for SuAnne Big Crow, a young Lakota heroine who was tragically killed in a car accident, the Club took on the mission of encouraging healthy lifestyles through spirituality and the embodiment of SuAnne’s ideals.

After a 1999 Presidential visit to Pine Ridge, the White House asked B&GCA to head a special initiative to build a brand new facility for the SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club. Along with the team from the existing Club, the Oglala Lakota community, and government agencies including Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of Interior, and Department of Agriculture, construction of the Club began in the summer of 2000.

Building on the existing Club’s success in providing “generation-changing programs” to some 500 youth annually, the new facility will enable the professionally trained staff to reach a significant number of children under the age of 18 (50 percent of the reservation’s population).

“Every person and program in this Boys & Girls Club can change a child’s life and generations to come,” said Leatrice “Chick” Big Crow, mother of SuAnne Big Crow and executive director of the SuAnne Big Crow Boys & Girls Club. “The new facility will enable more of our children to choose the values that SuAnne lived by – a ‘can do’ attitude and the importance of working toward a dream.”

“When Boys & Girls Clubs of America started our efforts in Indian Country, our goal was to collaborate with tribal communities and federal agencies to develop positive alternatives for Native American youth,” said Robbie Callaway, senior vice president, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “This new facility represents an important milestone for our movement and symbolizes the power of teamwork.”

Today, some 117 Boys & Girls Clubs have been established in Indian Country and serve more than 80,000 Native American youth annually. In South Dakota alone, there are nine Clubs currently on reservations and at least four more scheduled to open by the end of the year. For more information regarding the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Native American Initiative, please visit, or call 1-866-NACLUBS.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( comprises a national network of more than 3,000 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 3.5 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” Clubs provide guidance-oriented programs on a daily basis for children 6 - 18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key programs emphasize character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

SuAnne Big Crow
The Visions of SuAnne Big Crow is a 501c-3 non-profit corporation which provides critically needed services and support for the youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The purpose of the organization is to support and sustain the visions and ideals expressed in the life of SuAnne Big Crow.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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