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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Viewers Open Hearts to 'Children of the Plains'

Americans are opening their hearts to the young dreamers of the Pine Ridge Reservation after watching their stories on "A Hidden America: Children of the Plains," Friday's "20/20" special with Diane Sawyer.

The schools, organization and entrepreneurs featured in the special and online have been overwhelmed with e-mails from architects and community planners with ideas for mobile health clinics, new retailers interested in investing and selling Native American products and more.

The children and teens profiled on the show, meanwhile, have been flooded with messages of support since the special aired. Alaina Clifford, 19, the teen mom with dreams of becoming a music star, said she's heard from many other teen moms who have urged her not to give up on her goals and praising her beautiful voice. Viewers have also called the school of 6-year-old, Tashina Iron Horse, the exuberant pow wow dancer who kept her spirit in the face of tragedy, to ask what they can do to keep the young girl smiling.

Louise Clifford, the teen with a tough home life who savored riding her horse around the land she loved, will celebrate her 14th birthday this week with an unexpected bounty of birthday gifts, from school books to offers of tuition aid. Robert Looks Twice, 13, the star student with hopes of becoming the nation's first Native American president, has already amassed more than 1,000 potential voters thanks to a Facebook fan page that someone established for him over the weekend.

But Robert's most treasured feedback, he told ABC News, is from someone else: the father Robert had never met contacted him after watching him Friday night.

Watch Friday's full episode, "A Hidden America: Children of the Plains," here.

The best way to reach the children is through the mail addresses below:

Rockyford School
c/o: Robert Looks Twice
HCR 49 Box 175
BIA 2 and BIA 33
Porcupine, SD 57772
Porcupine Day School
c/o: Alaina Clifford
100 School Drive
PO Box 180
Porcupine, SD 57772
Tashina Iron Horse
P.O. Box 124
Manderson, SD 57756
Wounded Knee District School
c/o: Louise Clifford
100 Main Street
PO Box 350
Manderson, SD 57756

If you would like to help the Wounded Knee School District, the school profiled in the Diane Sawyer special click here to visit the school's web site (

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There are also several organizations dedicated to improving life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Learn how you can help these organizations below:

Lakota Funds is a community development financial institution (CDFI) leading an economic resurgence of the Oglala Lakota Oyate on the Pine Ridge Reservation through culturally appropriate strategies reigniting the traditional Lakota spirit of productivity, commerce, and trade. Since its inception in the 1980s, Lakota Funds has loaned over $5.5 million, resulting in the creation of over 1,100 jobs and over 660 businesses on or near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Pine Ridge Reservation now has more local goods and services available for community residents than ever before.
DONATIONS: To donate, visit

Founded in 1888 by the Jesuits at the request of the revered Chief Red Cloud, at Red Cloud Indian School, 600 Lakota students in grades K-12 receive access to opportunities and resources that not only celebrate the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but also give them the ability to improve their lives and become agents of social change on a reservation faced with extreme challenges. Red Cloud goes above and beyond a basic curriculum to meet the complex needs of the students. The ultimate goal is to help the students develop into Lakota leaders of tomorrow – men and women of conscience, confidence, competence, and commitment.

Of all the foundation dollars infused every year to worthy causes, less than 1 percent of all philanthropic money goes to Native American causes, concerns and/or organizations. Red Cloud Indian School depends on private donations for more than 95 percent of its operating budget. This reality results from operating in an area with few local financial resources—there are simply no local sources of substantial financial support and Red Cloud does not charge its student tuition fees.

DONATIONS: The Red Cloud Indian School gets the overwhelming majority of their funding through private donations and they receive no government subsidies. Click here to donate and for more information on the school.


In 1990, Congress passed the Victims of Child Abuse Act and encouraged the expansion of CASA (court appointed special advocates) programs throughout the nation. Founded in 1997, Oglala Lakota Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (OLCASA) is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting and promoting tribal court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children. OLCASA supports hundreds of children in crisis each year by recruiting and training volunteers to serve as CASA advocates. The advocates visit the children in foster homes and residential facilities, interview parents, caseworkers and medical professionals, and make recommendations to the court regarding the welfare of the children.

DONATIONS: Local volunteers must not only donate their time but also cover all of their expenses out-of-pocket, including gasoline, to drive to and from the courts and other far-flung locations on behalf of the children, often a 200 mile round trip. The budget cuts and increased expenses are having a devastating effect on both the children they serve and OL CASA's ability to recruit volunteers. OL CASA advocates for the children and you can advocate for OL CASA by becoming a long distance supporter. Send a tax-deductible check or money order and in-kind donations to Oglala Lakota CASA P. O. Box 5014 Pine Ridge, SD 57770 Click here to visit their website.


Since 1944, the National Congress of American Indians has been working to inform the public and Congress on the governmental rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives. NCAI has grown over the years from its modest beginnings of 100 people to include member tribes from throughout the United States. Now as in the past, NCAI serves to secure the rights and benefits to which NCAI believes they are entitled; to enlighten the public toward the better understanding of the Indian people; to preserve rights under Indian treaties or agreements with the United States; and to promote the common welfare of the American Indians and Alaska Natives.

DONATIONS: In addition to supporting the general work of NCAI, you also have the ability to direct your funds and support specific programs and initiatives; Native Vote, NCAI's Capital Campaign, and the Youth Fund. When making a donation, consider making a direct contribution to these efforts. To donate, visit this site. Learn more about NCAI at the NCAI website.


Anpetu Luta Otipi is an Oglala Sioux Tribe alcohol and drug treatment center that provides both inpatient and outpatient services for adults as well adolescents ages 12 to 17. There are 15 counselors on staff, who provide treatment assessments, treatment planning, individual counseling, group counseling, family services and client education. The program has locations in Pine Ridge, Wanblee, Martin and Kyle, South Dakota.

DONATIONS: The program is under the oversight of the OST Health & Human Services Committee. Anpetu Luta Otipi is run by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and federally funded, however their funding does not cover all their expenses. To donate, visit


Founded in 2006, the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is an organization dedicated to empowering Lakota youth & families through cultural and spiritual awareness. Thunder Valley built on a foundation of spirituality now is engaging sustainable community development.

DONATIONS: Thunder Valley is planning to build a green sustainable community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation which has sites for homes, a place to incubate businesses, youth shelter, community fitness center, community training facility and other facilities needed to create opportunity for the Oglala Lakota Nation. To donate, visit

The Chamber is an association of business people-working together to make Pine Ridge Area a better place in which to live, work, and raise a family. A voluntary non-profit corporation whose purpose is to create, sustain and enhance Indian owned businesses, therefore improving the quality of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Applying the Lakota values of Honesty, Wisdom, Respect, Courage, Fortitude, Responsibility, and Generosity to the economic setting.
DONATIONS: To donate, visit

ABC News does not endorse these organizations and be advised that not all groups provide tax deductibility.

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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.  
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