Educating ourselves and others
Modeling respectful behaviors
As Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors, we approach our work in a respectful, honest, and safe manner. We’re strengthening relationships by acting intentionally to build up our community. Human capital in the form of leadership and coaching/mentorship is essential to forward movement.
Authentic relationships, respectful tone, an awareness of history and place. We can feel movement, things quietly in motion. A spirit is moving in our community. Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors (MOA) set a tone in our community by exemplifying how to establish and strengthen relationships in the Black Hills region. This tone celebrates what makes us different and unlike any place in the nation.
Our relationships are built on knowledge and experience. We encourage critical thinking about the intersections between people groups, land, spirituality, and history. We explore and experience unknown territory together.
We recognize the issues that create systemic inequality deep in our communities and across the country. With broad conversations—and within the context of our work in recognizing that history and place matter—we are responding to the need and desire for a culture of respect, getting to the heart of understanding how we can grow stronger as a community.
With these relationships forged, Ambassadors are generating ideas, testing and implementing solutions, and collaborating for a sustainable future. Native and non-Native leaders are making a difference through solid relationships. We’re expanding into a youth MOA. The youth will face challenges as they learn how to approach these relationships, but expert leaders will be there to nurture a spirit of respect and a sense of history and place.
As Ambassadors, we are putting our actions and words forward to demonstrate behavior we want to see in others. We strive to bring what we’ve learned and the experiences we’ve gained into our personal and professional lives.
We believe history and place matters. Relationships matter. Here are the thoughts underneath those beliefs that drive the work we do as Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors.
History is important to understanding one another. MOA connects people to offer a network of empathetic and compassionate community members who educate themselves and one another about our history. Through the work of the Ambassadors, we want to share the history with facts, compassion, and balanced perspectives. We recognize the travesties that happened to Native Americans in our community more than a century ago and in recent years.
History has too often torn us apart as a community. Let history bring us together.
We are proud to call the Black Hills region our home. Some grew up here, some moved here. We all live here today.
Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors participate in community efforts that bridge cultures, educate ourselves and others, advocate, and model behavior we want to see in this community we love.
We bring humility into our community’s conversations around race relations. By creating authentic, safe spaces for dialogue with two people or 200, we are learning to facilitate difficult conversations that offer a path toward truth, healing, and that brings out the best in humanity.
Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors has set a tone of peace and understanding in our community. By being respectful, curious, and thoughtful, we are demonstrating how to establish and strengthen relationships in the Black Hills region.
This idea of peace and respect when working through conflicts sets a tone that allows us to celebrate what makes us different.
There are people in our community—Native and non-Native—who still live experiences they faced decades ago. Issues of trust are forefront in our challenges.
We believe in being quietly respectful and aggressively authentic as we develop relationships. This work is ongoing and takes time.
Through this time of hard work by the Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors, our community can see and feel relationships improving. There have been setbacks along the way, trust was challenged. But with energy, power and spirit, this movement continues to push forward.
Strong identity makes healthy individuals who make up a healthy community. Youth—from children to young professionals—can be some of our strongest ambassadors in this work. We can foster within them an understanding of who they are, where they come from, and the value of our differences. Youth can help us find solutions. We are not all the same, and that is a good thing.
Issues that create systemic inequality are deep in our community and across the country. With broad conversations and within the context of our work, we can get to the heart of how we grow stronger together. We are weaving the tapestry of our community—one relationship at a time.