This month, instead of highlighting just one partner, we’d like to take our hats off to a very special group of CRYP supporters: the champions of the 2014 Christmas Toy Drive. With their help, we were able to serve 1,350 Cheyenne River children this year.

Please read on, and click on the individual links to learn more about these worthy organizations, each of which has demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas with its generosity, friendship, and love.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Palm Springs, CA
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of the Cahuilla, located in Riverside County, California. The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation was founded in 1896 and occupies 31,610 acres. Since 6,700 acres of the reservation are within Palm Springs city limits, the tribe is the city’s largest collective landowner. The tribe owns Indian Canyons, located southwest of Palm Springs, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; they also own land in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

Amert Construction Inc., Madison, SD
Amert Construction started with one employee and a one-bag mixer in 1947, when Henry Amert and his sole employee built his first house in Madison, South Dakota. He and his wife, Arleen, ran the business for nearly 40 years, while raising two daughters who chose academic careers and two sons who chose to work with Amert Construction. In 1955, Amert became a member of the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota and a member of the National AGC. By 1958 the company had moved away from single family residential to specialize in commercial construction. In 1985, sons Dick and Don took over the business. Amert Construction has built great relationships with its customers over the years, thanks to the company’s skilled long-term employees, world-class equipment, years of experience and solid financial standing.

Black Mask Armada, Sioux Falls, SD
Established in 2012, Sioux Falls rap group Black Mask Armada intends to bring a new genre of hip hop to South Dakota — “something more aggressive and something WAY more honest than most music trending in our state.” Members include Gorilla Pimp (Levi Hansen), Doobius (Chris Drake), Bigg Dirrty (Troy Gibson), Fatty (Larry Richert), and DJ Daggnabbit (Vincent Olson). They created Operation Stocking Stuffer so BMA and their fans (The Army of Darkness) could rally together for a noble cause and help clear up some of the negative imagery that people might associate with their type of music. They collected 200 toys for Cheyenne River’s children, and reminded us that friends often are found in the most unlikely of places.

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, Crazy Horse, SD
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians. Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation demonstrates its ongoing commitment to this promise by continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture, providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations, acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center, and by establishing and operating the Indian University of North America, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.

D & R Propane
P.O. Box 581, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-4509

Elevation Cycles, Denver-Boulder-Highlands Ranch, CO
Elevation Cycles is a retailer of bicycles and related equipment in three Front Range locations.

Fairview High School, Boulder, CO
Not only is Fairview the No. 2 high school in the State of Colorado, it has a strong tradition of community service. For more than a decade, the school’s student council has adopted our toy drive as its fall community service project; with the leadership of these dedicated students, the Boulder community fulfills Christmas wishes for more than 500 children each year.

Four Bands Community Fund, Eagle Butte, SD
This nonprofit organization continuously strives to create economic opportunity on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation by helping people build strong and sustainable small businesses and increase their financial capability to enter the financial mainstream. Its programs and services translate the traditional Lakota values of self-sufficiency, wise resource management, and a spirit of entrepreneurship into practical applications for today’s modern reservation community.

Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLC, Louisville, CO
This law firm is dedicated to representing American Indian tribes and organizations throughout the United States, going beyond basic legal services to include legislative and governmental issues, corporate and financial affairs, energy and tax issues, as well as litigation. Attorneys at Fredericks Peebles & Morgan have developed a reputation as aggressive litigators, advocates, and accomplished negotiators. They offer a diverse skill set to tackle the toughest and most complex issues facing Indian tribes today.

The Gitlin Foundation, Ft. Washington, PA
Established in 1999, this not-for-profit foundation provides funding for health, the arts, youth services, and Jewish organizations.

Larson Family Foundation, Brookings, SD
The Larson Family Foundation is a grant-making foundation created by the Larson family to share its good fortune with the people of South Dakota. The foundation’s focus is to help people in need achieve a better quality of life. The main emphasis of grants to be awarded will be to fulfill basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and education.

Rapid City Woodworkers Association, Rapid City, SD
This association is a local chapter of the South Dakota Woodworkers Guild, and this year, a group of 20 toymakers hand-crafted more than 2,000 wooden toys for worthy South Dakota organizations — including ours. The mission of the RCWA is to promote woodworking safety, skills and knowledge, for the amateur, professional and student crafts person. It was formed to meet the needs of the woodworkers in the Rapid City area.

Rotary, Rapid City’s Noon Club and the Fort Pierre-Pierre Club, SD
Rotary identifies specific causes to maximize its local and global impact, while also understanding that each community has its own unique needs and concerns. Through its network of resources and partners, it helps local clubs focus their service efforts on promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, supporting mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.

Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Alexandria, VA
Running Strong is one of the most effective and respected American Indian not-for-profit organizations in the nation. With the help of donors and committed supporters, it creates lasting change in the lives of American Indian people, especially Indian youth. Not only does it address the physical needs of the American Indian people it serves, it also fosters a sense of hope among people who want to make a better life for their families and create positive change in their communities. Running Strong is committed to building the capacity of local Indian communities so that they are well equipped to respond to the challenges that they face. Working together with local communities, Running Strong addresses the important needs of food, shelter, youth initiatives, and culture and language preservation.

St. Louis Chapter of CRYP, St. Charles, MO
This group of dedicated Missouri friends banded together years ago to support our youth project. Each year, they take part in volunteer service trips to our Cheyenne River campus, and they are constant supporters of the Christmas Toy Drive, Passion for Fashion, and many other annual initiatives.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Shakopee, MN
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community is a federally recognized Indian tribe formally organized under federal reservation status in 1969. Tribal members are direct lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Dakota people who resided in villages near the banks of the lower Minnesota River. The SMSC presently owns more than 3,760 acres of land, all of which are located within or near the original 250-acre reservation established for the tribe in the 1880s. Tribal lands are located in Prior Lake and Shakopee, Minnesota.

Six Points Inc., Lincoln, NE
This Native American-owned business supplies high-quality steaks, ground beef, pork and chicken to customers around the world. Founder John D. Woolf is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and in 2009, Six Points established the Six Points-Cheyenne River Youth Project Fund at the South Dakota Community Foundation to manage all fundraising that supports CRYP.

Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation, Little Canada, MN
Spirit of Sovereignty is a national charitable organization that directly supports the efforts of Indian individuals and tribes to achieve self-determination through educational opportunities and positive children’s programming. Spirit of Sovereignty’s programming is driven by community donors who know that American Indian people need a base of self-determination from which to operate and that success is eminently achievable.

Staff at the American Indian College Fund, Denver, CO
The American Indian College Fund, established in 1989, is the nation’s largest and highest-rated American Indian scholarship organization. It provides Native American student scholarships and programmatic support for the nation’s 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities located on or near Indian reservations to provide access to an affordable, quality higher education.

State Bank of Eagle Butte, Eagle Butte, SD
Jerome Payne had a vision of opening a bank in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and the State Bank of Eagle Butte became his legacy. With a handful of investors and his wife, Helen, at his side the State Bank of Eagle Butte opened its doors on February 1, 1960. Its motto, “Big enough to serve you… small enough to know you,” has been held with pride since its inception. The bank remains locally owned and operated.

Student volunteers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
This year, students who attend CU-Boulder’s business and law schools collected toys for our Christmas Toy Drive. Founded five months before Colorado became a state in 1876, CU-Boulder is a public research university and the flagship university of the University of Colorado system. According to “The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities (2001),” it is considered one of the country’s 30 “Public Ivy League” schools. In 2010, the university consisted of nine colleges and schools, offered more than 150 academic programs, and enrolled 29,952 students.

Western Dakota Bank, Timber Lake, Isabel & Eagle Butte, SD
Western Dakota Bank originated in Glencross, South Dakota, on July 1, 1919 and opened under the name of Glencross State Bank. The Bank of Timber Lake merged with Glencross State Bank in 1935, and the bank name was changed to Dewey County Bank. A branch was opened in Isabel in 1960. The bank name was changed to Western Dakota Bank in 1997, and a branch was opened in Eagle Butte in 2008. Western Dakota Bank services the communities of Timber Lake, Isabel and Eagle Butte.

To these organizations, and to the many individual donors around the world who are helping to bring Santa Claus to Cheyenne River, words cannot express the depth of our gratitude. We can only say, from the bottom of our hearts ~


Thank You.