“With a history of injustice and violence, helping women is a big piece of mental health. A lot of our tribal communities only have whatever we get from Indian Health Service and tribal healers,” said Amanda Takes War Bonnet, who is a grandmother, a graduate student at Sinte Gleska, Rosebud, and the public education specialist for Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains.
Historically, Takes War Bonnet said the elders and ancestors practiced ways that kept them in balance. But today, much is lost through a modern lifestyle. “We are told all the time how to take care of your body, your heart, diabetes, obesity—but we are not taught how to take care of our brain. How do you take care of your mental health?” she asked.
Chelsey Spotted Tail, a sexual assault advocate with the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, works with Takes War Bonnet as part of mental health internship. Spotted Tail credited Takes War Bonnet with helping with the summer Isnati (womanhood) ceremony and activities that helped women heal.
Dr. Mary Ann Coupland, a clinical psychologist and teacher at Sinte Gleska University, said Takes War Bonnet is a person who does many things for people under the radar. “Amanda is on track to graduate in the spring with a Master’s Degree in mental health. The only thing that would stand in her way is missing class because she is too busy helping the people.”
Girls Basketball Teams
Jon Berryhill, 37, Three Affiliated Tribes, is a student in the United Tribes Technical College’s Business Program. He is making use of all the resources and connections that UTTC can provide. “I am learning to ask questions now, instead of waiting until I am done,” he laughed.
“The team is about 80 percent Native, and our kids are developing confidence in their teamwork. It’s nice that they know they can compete,” Berryhill said. “Basketball is a tool. We are trying to create a student athlete who will succeed, who will go above and beyond, who won’t settle, who will go to college, and have dreams of being the next Shoni Shimmel. We see inner city teams, but not too many Native girl basketball teams.
“These girls are already playing at the eighth grade level,” he said proudly.
Developing Safe Activities for the Youth
“We want to provide something for the youth that we wished we had when we were growing up,” Waycen Owens Cyr, 19, Fort Peck Community College, Wolf Point, Montana, said. As the student president majoring in computer technology, Cyr said, “We do as much as we can to make sure students have the help they need to maintain their education. If they have a problem, we help.”
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/03/seventh-generation-5-student-projects-making-difference-158095?page=0%2C1