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1700 Mile Walk to Raise 
Awareness and Funding for the Preservation of Lakota Language and Culture

    Time is running out for the Lakota Nation. Their language, once the most widely spoken Native language in North America, is now in danger of becoming extinct. On July 11th, a group of concerned people will take the first steps of a 1700 mile journey they call Spirit Walk to help raise donations for The Seven Fires Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the Lakota people preserve their culture and language by bringing elders and children together to teach their native language.

     Besides raising money, the goal for the Spirit Walk, according to John LaFountaine, President of the Board of Directors, is to show the world what the Lakota people have given to this Nation and to humanity and the desperate situation in which their culture, their language and their way of living is at risk right now.

    Less than 25% of the Lakota population currently speak or understand their native tongue and fewer than that are fluent. The Oglala Lakota College predicts that within the next generation more than 90% of the population will no longer be able to speak or understand Lakota at all. The Seven Fires Foundation believes that the imminent loss of the Lakota language has important consequences for the Lakota Nation both today and in the future. Once a culture loses its language, the loss of its cherished cultural ways is often not far behind. The impact of this on a culture is devastating.

    With the right support, The Lakota language has a realistic chance for long-term survival due to the available documentation and the fact that there are still people alive who speak the original language. Because most of these people are elders, the time to act is now.

    There are over 100,000 people in the Lakota Nation and the majority of them live in areas on and off reservations near the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. With the bicentennial celebration of Lewis and Clarkes western expedition beginning this year, awareness is growing about the current challenges facing the Lakota and other tribes whose way of life was vastly changed by the opening of the western passage 200 years ago.

    The Spirit Walk starts on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota and will travel through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia before landing in Washington D.C. in late September where the organizers will meet with government representatives and request assistance for all programs that preserve Lakota and other indigenous cultures in the United States. The walkers plan to average 20-30 miles per day, stopping in communities to share their message of hope through storytelling and music. 

    Seven Fires Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide humanitarian services and preserve the ancient traditions for the generations to come. A vital part of this mission is to extend supportive services, by helping to raise support, for children, traditional medicine people and traditional cultures in need. 

For More Information, Contact SEVEN FIRES FOUNDATION

CALL: 541-347-7801.

PORCUPINE, SD ........... July 10
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA ..... August 6
PEORIA, IL .............. August 15
INDIANAPOLIS, IN ... August 25
COLUMBUS, OH ............ Sept. 3
WASHINGTON D.C. ..... Sept. 26 

Arvol Looking Horse is the 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe
Bundle and holds the
responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People.

He holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of South Dakota,
and travels and speaks extensively on peace, environmental and native rights issues. He has been the recipient of several awards, including the Wolf Award of Canada for his
dedicated work for peace. 

A skilled horseman, he shares his knowledge with the youth on the long distance rides that take place in South Dakota throughout the year.

Roger LaMere is Project Director and Director of Education of The Lakota Project, is himself 100% Lakota and a tradition
medicine man. 

Roger has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from the University of Nebraska and immeasurable experience directing, supporting, managing and teaching within the Native communities over the past
32 years, including the Tribal Community Liaison for the Oglala Sioux Tribe for the past two years. 

His experience teaching and working with at-risk Native children has included consultant for the Iktomi Stories Project, Program Coordinator for the US Patent & Trademark Communities in Schools project, Legal consultant for the Indian Child Welfare Act, and Director of the NW Nebraska Alcohol & Drug Treatment Program.

Rogers life long dream is the implementation of The Lakota Project, which will preserve the heritage, values and honor for the Lakota children.

John LaFountaine is of Chippewa decent and
an enrolled member of the
Turtle Mountain Chippewa
of Montana and North

John has served as a certified Chemical
Dependency Counselor and Traditional Counselor for a nonprofit Urban Indian Center in Helena, Montana, teaching many at risk American Indian youth the importance of healthy lifestyles and the beauty of their culture. 

Currently John is serving as the President of the Board of Directors for Seven Fires Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the ancient cultures
of the American Indians and serving as a catalyst to support children of all races. 

John has committed to do
this walk in return for all that the Lakota people have done for him and his family.

Native Drumming
Native Flute

For More Information, Contact SEVEN FIRES FOUNDATION
CALL: 541-347-7801.

"The Lakota language and culture are at risk of being lost. In this crucial time in humanity, the children must be taught their language and traditions so they might pass these traditions on to future generations. In the Lakota way of being, the children are sacred. It is these children that will carry the possiblities of the future. Please support Spirit Walk 2003 and the Lakota Project. Your support will help insure the sacred traditions for future
generations of the Lakota people."
Arvol Looking Horse (Keeper of the Sacred Calf Pipe)

I have made a personal commitment to help the Lakota Nation by participating in the Lakota Project to bring awareness to all the people and ask for their assistance in helping to preserve the Lakota culture. The Lakota people have opened their hearts, homes and their Sacred
Ceremonies to me, helping me to heal on all levels and enter into a greater understanding of my relationship to the Creator and Holy Earth Mother. For this, I give back to the people who have given so much to me.
John LaFountaine

If you are interested in supporting the Walk and The Lakota Project
through a tax deductible financial donation please contact:
A 501(c)3 Non-ProfitOrganization 
The Lakota Project Office: 
1319 7th Street #A, Rapid City, 
SD 57701
Seven Fires Foundation
Call: 541-347-7801


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