Workshop On Youth Self-Injury Prevention

One of the 7 Lakota values is to “Ihakta” one another, to look out for each other or not to leave one another behind. Many of our children and youth are being “left behind” and are cutting themselves and using self-injury as a way to cope. what is “self-injury’, what does it look like, how do we as helpers, family and community respond to this?


Richard Two Dogs (Lakota Traditional Healer), Richard Laughter (MD, Psychiatrist), Joseph Stone (Psychologist), Stanley R. Holder Sr. (Psychologist)


Tribal Leadership, Parents, Youth Counselors, Social Workers, Youth Workers, Advocates, Juvenile Judges, Clergy, Teachers, Educators, and Community Members.


Wakanyeja Pawicayapi (The Children First), Knife Chief Buffalo Nation, Village Earth


Click here to download PDF Flyer






A message from Wakanyeja Pawicayapi Inc. – Porcupine, SD

As a supporter of grassroots organizations on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Village Earth would like to highlight the work of Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc. based out of the village of Porcupine. Wakanyeja Means Children. Wakanyeja has much deeper meaning; “Wakan” is sacred and “yeja” is translated to mean “a gift”  Pawicayapi: to put them first. We believe that the ‘Sacred Gift’ is at the center of the sacred hoop of life, and they must be protected and nurtured. They are our future and the most fragile. Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc. (Children First) comes from the rebirth of the Lakota way of life and laws through education, healing, and collaboration. This holiday season, please consider donating directly to Wakanyeja Pawicayapi by going to their website at
Please read the appeal below from Taoiye Wakan Win, S. Ramona White Plume, Executive Director, Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc.



A message from Wakanyeja Pawicayapi Inc

As a Lakota culturally appropriate mental health resource for children/youth and families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation since 1999, we do not receive federal funds for the services we provide. These services include primarily child/youth and family healing in the areas of trauma, suicide prevention, physical abuse and sexual abuse.
We respectfully ask for your support, both financially and spiritually. Your financial support will help us to purchase wood for the purification lodge ceremonies, purchase food to serve children/youth and families after the ceremonies and pay for general operating costs.

Your spiritual support in the form of appeals to the Creator on behalf of children/youth and families who continue to suffer from intergenerational grief, loss and trauma will strengthen the work that we do and will assist in the ongoing battle for our Lakota way of life and the future of our children and grandchildren. For more information contact Taoiye Wakan Win, S. Ramona White Plume, Executive Director, Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc., P.O. Box 100, Porcupine, SD 57772,, 605-455-1226. Wopila (thank you).

Training Iraq’s Young Leaders

In late July, Village Earth provided two days of curriculum for college age students from Iraq. The diverse set of approximately 20 Iraqi students was selected from all over their country to take part in a summer exchange program.
Colorado State University was one of only two universities chosen to host students. The other was the University of Southern Indiana. The Colorado curriculum focused on civic engagement and social advocacy. Village Earth provided a four-day training on community mobilization and building support through proper framing of your message. The group used this training to generate their Facebook page, Iraqis Will.
Beside increasing cultural understanding within Iraq and between the US and Iraq, the leadership exchange program helped students design action plans for projects that they will implement upon their return to the country. This is the second year that Village Earth has provided training to young Iraqi leaders.

Project Spotlight: Empowering Youth in Cambodia



Cambodia has experienced a long history of political instability, including one of the most destructive regimes of the 20th century.

The Khmer Rouge took power in 1974. Educated people were the targets of this regime that tortured and

murdered more than 2 million Cambodians during its 4-year Maoist revolution. By the end of the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge had completely destroyed the educational system in Cambodia.

In 1979, Vietnam overthrew the Khmer Rouge, but guerilla warfare continued. In 1991, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia sought to rid the country of the last of the Khmer Rouge holdouts and usher in democracy and foreign investment.

Despite recent economic and political strides, Cambodia faces significant challenges that may impede

development. Problems such as extreme poverty, poor education, corruption, and human rights abuses continue to plague the country and its people.

The urban poor are undoubtedly some of the worst affected, as they struggle to feed and educate their families. Many are forced to survive with sporadic and informal employment, and youth have few opportunities for a better future.

The Project

Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC) believes that Cambodia’s greatest assets are its young people, as 50% of the population is under 22 years of age. By educating young Cambodians from poor communities, with an emphasis on creating young leaders, EYC feels change is possible.

EYC currently operates three schools in slum communities in Phnom Penh, with a total of around 350

students. Students learn English, computer skills, leadership, sports, health, and other life skills.  Medical care is offered to the wider community as resources allow, with the priority going to students and children.

Many graduates of EYC’s Aziza and Lakeside schools are now employed as teachers at EYC’s Youth School.  Other graduates have gone on to university, with seven 1st year scholarships given this year alone. EYC has also provided job placements for more than 20 students.

Looking Ahead

EYC recently hired a Community Organizer to assist in the organization’s efforts to engage people throughout the communities in which they work.  EYC is also working with youth who have an interest in community organizing and leadership. The hope is to create a team of organizers to help communities with a willingness to partner.

EYC recently created a family planning team, and has had great success in the first phase. The plan is to develop an outreach team that would work with larger NGOs to offer much-needed family services in the community.

Unfortunately, each of the three slum communities where EYC operates is facing potential or certain eviction, and therefore the loss of EYC schools and students. If and when this happens, EYC will assess the situation, and the possibility of relocating to wherever the community is placed.

Much work remains to be done to combat the endemic development problems in Cambodia, but Empowering Youth in Cambodia is providing hope and inspiration that a better future is possible. The support of programs and organizations like EYC is absolutely crucial if we hope to stem the tide of poverty and human rights abuses in Cambodia.