I almost titled this without the word “good”. But you’ll see in a moment why I added that adjective.
A couple of months back I wrote about a fantastic youth program on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. (Native Music! A Youth Project! published 2-24-2011: http://wp.me/p57ZB-hR ). The project has been renamed – Independence Through Music (you can find ITM on Facebook). Davidica Little Spotted Horse is the driving force behind this project to find, promote and educate young musicians on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She has a new web page as well: http://www.davidica.com/ You can find a lot of information about the project in those places.
As I read through the “wall posts” of ITM on Facebook, I ran across this one that struck me as important. The author is a DJ at KILI radio on the rez. The point is important. The post stated: Deejay Spinnerz: It wud be nice , if someone can do sum PR for them and donate sum musical instruments for them, also 🙂 Schools, music stores ,etc.
When I read that, I thought, “Why not me?” After all, I’m always writing about the rez these days, right?! It also occurred to me, as I read the names of the young people who have been chosen so far to participate in the program along with their specialities, it makes a certain kind of sense that there are so many rappers. Musical instruments cost money and there are many families that cannot afford the basics, let alone buy a child an instrument.
So if you have a “good” (that means good condition, working, all the parts attached, etc) instrument that you no longer use, consider shipping it out to the program to support not only these young musicians but also others who have not even had the chance to try to learn. Why let something as important as a musical instrument collect dust? Why let it deteriorate? Why not give it to someone who might discover not only talent but hope for life? Music touches your soul to listen to – I’m not a musician but I would imagine it touches your soul even more to create it.
If you have an instrument to give to a young person, please send me an email at bblodgett@nativeprogress with your name, the type of instrument and contact information. I will then give you the information to send the instrument.
Please — NO TOYS OR JUNK. We’re talking recording artists, not playschool at this time.
Here is an update on the project along with their non-profit fundraising partner’s information in case you don’t have an instrument but would like to support this worthwhile endeavor.
Independence Through Music- Project Summary
We are committed to empowering our Native Youth by sharing our knowledge of the music business and providing them with resources to promote their talents with the help of our Native brothers and sisters from Canada so the Native Youth can in turn give back to their communities. Our combined efforts will help to bring Native’s together from all corners of Turtle Island to show that Wolakota has no borders.With the suicide rate on the rise among our Native Youth, we adults look for answers on how to help our youth to escape the overwhelming hopelessness and despair that is in their everyday lives.
How can we convince them that there is a future to look forward to?
After many hours and lots of prayers we have come to realize that we need to empower our youth by encouraging their natural talents by providing them with resources that we as working musicians have already acquired. We want to help them succeed by being self sufficient.
A one time donation is a helpful temporary solution that only lasts until the donation runs out. But the youth want a way to provide for their families by
doing something that brings them pride and enjoyment while being part of a higher purpose.
So following our traditional ways that teaches us to look ahead, to make a difference for our future descendants. We have decided to give the gift of knowledge and resources to our youth to help lift the despair and to show them there is hope for their future.
To help our Native Youth reach their goal of being working recording artists we are bringing in Native Mentors from all aspects of the music business. This will get them that much closer to being self sufficient. The end result of a youth shelter being built because of the efforts of our youth will make that much needed impact in our communities an even better reason for them to share their talents with the world.
Talent Search -Final list of Native youth chosen for project
Kyle Mesteth- Hip Hop Artist/ Lyricist
Recording Demo CD for the artists
Documentary of Our Amazing Journey
A Higher Purpose – Youth Shelter
From the success of this project we are hoping to bring this to the reservations of our brothers and sisters in Canada where their youth are having the same struggles and to other reservations in the United States. We as Lakota’s will offer our hand of friendship to all our Native brothers and sisters. Together, united we can win this fight against hopelessness for our youth. Our next goal will be to build a youth shelter on the Keeseekoowenin Reservation in Manitoba, Canada. We as Native people must unite as one force to help our youth if we really want to make positive changes for them. I know once we succeed we can take this project everywhere that its needed. This is a big project but one that will be used by our future descendants and will lead to many more opportunities for all Native Youth across Turtle Island.
All of the individuals involved in this project believe in the projects ability to bring positive changes to our reservations.
Anyone interested in helping us in our fundraising can make donations by following this link http://elaineadairmichalakfoundation.org/ and clicking the donate button.
Angelia Baldwin -Non-profit (Elaine Adair Michalak Foundation)
Michael Michalak -Non-profit (Elaine Adair Michalak Foundation)
Elaine Adair Michalak Foundation
PO Box 191 Pierpont, SD 57468