OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
To Inspire our Lakota Youth to become Leaders for their future, to teach and share our Lakota Values, Virtues, Cultural, and Spiritual Wisdom and our Lakota Way of Life through our Circle of Knowledge.
We teach an "inside the center" approach to life.
We teach our Lakota Ways to our young people, to help them learn and remember who we are and where we came from.
We teach them about the treaties and how to become Protectors of our way of life as well as our Natural Resources.
We teach them to know Unci Maka, “Grandmother Earth”.
Our programs and activities incorporate the traditional 7 Values of Lakota Life:
Wocʼekiya - Praying: find spirituality by communicating with your higher power, this is communication between you and Tunkasila without going through another person or spirit.
Wa oʼhola - Respect: for self, higher power, family, community, all life.
Waunsila - First law of the Pipe. Caring and Compassion: loving, caring and or concern for one another in a good way, especially for the family, the old ones, the young ones, the orphans, the ones in mourning, the sick ones, and the ones working for the people.
Wowijake - Honestly and Truth: with yourself, higher power, and others with sincerity.
Wawokiye - Helping: helping without expecting anything in return, giving from the heart.
Wahwayela - Humility: we have a spirit; we are no better or less than others.
Waanagoptan - Listen-hear, obey, accept give heed to attention.
Teca Wawokiye Cokata, Center for Helping the Youth, is located in Batesland, South Dakota. We serve youth in the far south eastern corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Lakota Nation.
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has nine districts and a total of 56 communities. There are 3,468 square miles. We are Tetons and our Band is Oglala. We are called Scatter Their Own, but as an Oyate (people), we keep our peoples close- we don't scatter our people. Our spoken language is Lakota. We come from the Oceti Sakowin, The Seven Council Fires, there are three dialects, Lakota, Nakota, Dakota. We are the Great Sioux Nation.
Our goal is to unify our small grassroots Lakota Community, our Elders, Adults, Youth and our Children.
Our activities and events are offered indoors in the Batesland School Gym on the Batesland School campus or at TWC headquarters. Outdoor activities include field trips to sacred places and an annual summer camp.
Serving boys and girls ages 5-26, we weave traditional Lakota values into Modern Life Skills. We offer after school, weekend and summer activities.
We have been informally helping youth in our community since 2016.
Our home is located directly across the street from the Batesland Elementary School and we have provided guidance and safe haven for many youth who had no where to go after school. In order to serve more of our youth, we now offer programs and training on the school campus.
We are pleased to have been selected as an affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples who now serves as our fiscal sponsor. Because Seventh Generation Fund is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, your donation is tax deductible.
"I come from a long line of Spiritual Leaders from both Reservations. The Buffalo Horn Chips and Moves Camp Family. From Rosebud, Crow Dogs, Eagle Bears in Black Pipe Community, and Robert Stead Tioyospaye.
I am truly blessed for having family that have been known for Traditional Values, Traditional Arts, Song and Dance.
I became a trained artist at a very young age and have carried this knowledge.
I was raised in the Spiritual ways of the Lakota and attended Spiritual camps at Bear Butte for more than 45 years and have resided in the Black Hills for 30 years.
I have knowledge in survival skills including plants and animals of South Dakota. I believe this knowledge must be passed to our young people of our Nation, as such skills have been passed from one generation to another, not changing, but adapting to the changing times of our great Lakota Nation.
Survival in this day and age has been changed drastically through the coming of the non-native people’s and their morals, standards and language. Our young people are lost without their traditional knowledge which is dying due to mis-information through schools and false teachings.
It’s up to us to see that Our Lakota Way of Life, Our Lakota Language and Traditional Ways are not lost."
" I am Oglala Lakota and Aztec. I have lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation since I was fourteen years old when I moved here with my mother.
I believe in the Lakota Way of Life with the Values and Virtues taught to us by Pte San Win - White Buffalo Calf Woman. I follow the Traditional ways of our Lakota people and have for 30 years. I love our Way of Life.
As I was growing up, I learned how to pick our medicines, to dry and store. I believe that when there is an abundance of a medicine (plant) that is sacred to us, we must pick it because Tunkasila and Unci Maka is showing us this plant for a reason.
I love our Culture. It’s about making pieces of our history and tying them together.
I learned to sew by watching my mother. I began to sew by hand and then by pedal sewing machine. I taught myself how to make our ceremonial bags, medicine bag, moccasins, sweat dresses, ribbon skirts.
When I was in my twenties, my grandfather Charles Thunder Hawk gave me beaded hair ties and said, "maybe someday you will dance." When my daughter became a jingle dancer and then fancy shawl, I began to sew her dress outfits. I also learned to do bead work so I could bead her hair ties and barrette. I made my grandson’s grass dance and traditional dance outfits.
Board Chairman/Cultural Adviser
AA in Small Business
Oglala Lakota College.
Retail/Wholesale Art Business
Bear Butte Spiritual Camps 45 years
Resided in Black Hills 30 years
Teca WaWokiye Cokata
Batesland, South Dakota
Bachelor of Science Business Administration
Oglala Lakota College
Human Resources Officer at Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Housing 27 years
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Debbie Blue Bird
Life long Resident of Wakpamni Lake Community, Pine Ridge
BS Business Administration
Ogala Lakota College
Debbie has served on various boards including: Parent Advisory Committee, Batesland School, Oglala Sioux Tribe Public Safety Review Board, Oglala Sioux Tribe Credit and Finance, Oglala Sioux Tribe Personnel Board, Oglala Sioux Tribe Parent Advisory Committee/Head Start, Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, Empowerment Zone Task Force Wakpamni District.
She is currently employed as the Director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Higher Education Program which provides scholarships to students to attend college.