The Sacred Pipe Resource Center recently received a tipi from a couple of generous Bismarck donors.

Cheryl Kary, Executive Director of SPRC, says the donation was unexpected but very much appreciated, “I was just floored by the gift, and it comes at such a great time for the organization.” Kary says the Sacred Pipe Resource Center recently started work with the Sacred Pipe Youth Council, a group of high school students interested in hosting cultural and reconciliation events for local American Indian youth.

“American Indian youth in the Bismarck-Mandan area really took some heavy stress from the local and national spotlight on the pipeline issues,” says Kary, “and this is an excellent way for them to take leadership in their own healing.” Kary says the addition of the tipi will give them a focal point and a safe space to host events.

Waylon Hedegaard and Renee Ewine, who donated the tipi, say the gift was both a difficult and easy choice to make. “It was a difficult choice in that the tipi has been part of our family for several years and it has some emotional attachments to it,” says Hedegaard, “but also an easy choice in that we know it will go to good and special use.”

Brianna Tortalita, a youth advisor to the group, says the youth were very honored to hear about the donation. “It was very unexpected and we were all kind of shocked. But it didn’t take long for us to really start thinking of the possibilities and the things we can do. This past summer, we were wishing for a tipi and now we have one. It’s weird.”

The Sacred Pipe Youth Council is working on events throughout the winter and spring, and is seeking more youth to become involved. For more information or if you have any questions about joining, call or email us here at SPRC.

PHOTO: (L to R) Sacred Pipe Youth Council Advisors Kelsey Tortalita and Brianna Tortalita; Sacred Pipe Youth Council Members Aalyah Standish and Mya Garter; Donors Renee Ewine and Waylon Hedegaard