Giving Back to Wounded Knee Foundation

April 29, 2014


Five senior from the Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota received exciting news this week! They learned their hard work and dedication had paid off. All five were awarded the highly competitive Gates Millennium Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to 1,000 minority students and provides funding for them to attend the college of their choice until graduation, without incurring debt. To earn the prestigious Gates Scholarship students must maintain a 3.3 grade average or higher, demonstrate community leadership, and complete 8 essays.

Caine Ghost Bear and the other students from Pine Ridge have been awarded the opportunity of a lifetime, where the average reservation income is under $10,000 per year and only 12% of the residents have a college degree. Red Cloud High School Principal Robin Johnson said over 56,000 students applied across the country and only 1,000 were accepted. These students have defied the odds and achieved this remarkable life changing scholarship.

Read the full article here.

September 11, 2013


Giving Back To Wounded Knee is coming loaded down with trucks and trailers for our 2013 Give Away! It promises to be the best ever!

For project comparisons to date view our project page. See what we have been up to the last several years.

The Give Away is scheduled for Saturday, October 12, 2013.  Don’t miss out! We want everyone to take advantage of the wonderful things we are bringing to the Rosebud. The location will be disclosed one week before the Give Away.

Come along with us! Participate in our Give Away on the Rosebud Reservation. Bring new towels, bedding, blankets, new pillows (they’re so inexpensive at many department stores), nice sheets, baby clothing, men’s and women’s clothing, as well as kids and teens. Everyone needs everything, so don’t be shy. The folks on the Rosebud are desperate for warm things this winter, and winter is just around the corner.

WOPILA TANKA –(many thanks in Lakota)
ne’ WOKAN TANKA KICI UN — (May God Bless You).


Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!

September 3, 2013



July 25, 2013


Dear Readers,

It is with great sadness that I bring you the news that Maria Tallchief, a Kennedy Center honoree and daughter of a full blood Osage Indian from Oklahoma passed over this past April, 2013.

Tallchief was widely regarded as America’s first major prima ballerina and the first Native American to be so celebrated in the ballet world.  She danced with the New York City Ballet and appeared with other dance companies, and participated in many film and TV projects.

In 1966 she retired, founded, and served as co-artistic director for the Chicago City Ballet through the 1980’s. She was also an honorary artistic adviser for the Chicago Festival Ballet from 1990 until her death April 11 at age 88 in Chicago. Her death is a great loss for the Arts and for the “Second City.”

Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!


Within the last week a number of news sources (including the London Daily Mail,  CBS News, the Rapid City Journal, NPQ News wire) state that Johnny Depp plans to spend millions of his own money to return the land of Wounded Knee to Native Americans.

Wounded Knee, the site and the scene of an 1890 massacre is up for sale for $3.9 million dollars. Local Native Americans say they cannot afford to buy it. Depp is outraged and wants to help.

“Wounded Knee is very sacred ground and many atrocities were committed against the Sioux there. And, in the 1970’s there was a stand – off between the Feds (Federal Government) and the people who should own that land. This historical land is so important to Sioux culture, and all I want to do is buy it and give it back. Why doesn’t the government do that?

Depp had personal motives for signing up to play Tonto in the current box office movie, The Lone Ranger.  He is fiercely proud of his own Native American heritage. By taking the role he saw it as a way to make amends for the way Native Americans have been portrayed in film.

“I was told at a very young age I have some Indian blood. God knows how much that’s there. . . It is a part of me. . . History is in the hands of those who get to write the books, as they say. Until you grow up and read about the true facts, that’s the stuff they teach you in school.”

Will Depp be able to purchase the land?

“I am doing my best to make that happen. Wounded Knee is the land they were pushed on to, and then they were massacred there. It really saddens me.”

What a man! says Cindy Hicks-Orth, Executive Director of Giving Back to Wounded Knee Foundation. Since this news surfaced, the price of the land has gone up to $4.9 million dollars, by the seller, a white man who lives in Rapid City, by the name of James Czywczynski. 

The land is purported to be worth no more than $14,000, according to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, of which the massacre site is located. 

Johnny, don’t you dare back down!  Don’t let this guy take advantage of you, as has been the experience of the Sioux and all other Native American Indian tribes for 400+ years.

What you are doing is fantastic. We are all rooting for you! Frankly, I thought Kevin Costner would be the first to step up to the plate.
GOOD FOR YOU AND WOPILA TANKA –(many thanks in Lakota)
ne’ WOKAN TANKA KICI UN — (May God Bless You).


Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!


July 14, 2013


On Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 1pm Cindy Hicks-Orth, founder and director of Giving Back to Wounded Knee Foundation will give a presentation titled “Together In The Spirit” at the Westchester Public Library. Midwest SOARRING Foundation, a Native American organization located in Westchester, Illinois, is sponsoring Hicks as their speaker for this event.

The public and all interested are invited to this fascinating presentation which covers the history and current day affairs on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations.  Hicks is of Shawnee Ancestry and is Executive Director of the not-for-profit foundation, Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.  She spends much of her summers planning and organizing her foundation’s annual Give Away for the Oglala Lakota and Rosebud Sicangu Reservations in South Dakota. An activist for Native American Indian issues, Hicks speaks all over the country on issues current and relavant to the people she serves, and those issues of historical value that may not be so familiar with “outsiders”.

Hicks creates awareness of the conditions in which her Sioux friends exist, careful to dispell those who think that all Native Indians are wealthy due to some of the casinos found on fortunate reservations. The Rosebud and Pine Ridge are in two of the three most poverty stricken counties in the country. Every summer, Hicks gathers a group and together they take a Truck of Honor out to either Pine Ridge or Rosebud to distribute the goods among the tribal
citizens who are all invited to attend.

The public is invited to participate in this year’s Give Away scheduled for September 2013 by bringing a new or gently used item to the talk. Items that are needed include new men’s or women’s gloves, wool scarves, and socks for children or an adults. Gently used toys, DVD’s, books, schoolsupplies, bookbags, or a new pillow or blanket would be also be greatly appreciated. Remember to sign who the item is from.

This presentation is free and all are welcome. The Westchester Public Library is located at 10700 Canterbury Street, Westchester, IL. 60154. To learn more about Midwest SOARRING Foundation, sponsoring organization for this presentation visit their website at

February 6, 2013


Beloved Yellowstone Park Wolf 832f was shot and killed this December, 2012. She was the most beautiful alpha pack female of the Lamar canyou and one of the most popular attractions at Yellowstone National Park. Her bloody body became just the latest Yellowstone wolf to be needlessly killed – and just outside the park borders.

As many of you already know, the Wolf is the symbol of this foundation due to their closeness and admiration by the Native Americans. The wolf body count continued to rise in the West. Hunters have killed 258 wolves in Idaho. Montana and Wyoming since late August, recording known to spend time within Yellowstone National Park. Five of them wearing tracking collars. Though no hunting is allowed within the park, wolves often step over the DNA Park Officials “boundry line” ( like they could read) in search of food and mates. Once out they are no longer protected. In early December, the beloved alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack (#832F) (I like to call her Dagmar), was shot 16 miles east of the park. she was a ‘famous’ visisble wolf, currently being filmed by cinematographer Bob Landis, who has produced many films for Nature and National Geographic programs.

Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit in November to challenge the ‘premature’ de-listing of wolves in Wyoming, arguing that the Interior (?) Department illegally stripped wolves from the Endangered Species Act protections and is allowing the state to treat wolves as unwanted vermin across the majority of the state, including the National Forests!!!The Yellowstone wolves are some of the most intensely studied wild animals on this planet. For years, scientists have monitored wolf activity under conditions where humans were not the same threat to human survival. Now it appears these wolves, recently re-introduced into the Park will face the same risks as wolves elsewhere in the Rockies.

She was big, she was beautiful. She was such a powerful hunter that she was once observed bringing down a full grown elk all by herself! This Alpha Felmale, 832F, known as “6” for the year she was born. She spent the majority of ther time in the Yellowstone National Park and was the mother to many litters of pups and a favorite of the “wolf watchers” who visit the park to gaze in awe and admiration at these magnificent gray wolves from the Lamar Canyon Park.Wildlife Management (?) plans in states such as Idaho, Wyoming and Montana have killed at least 650 wolves in these states working aggressively to rally the public against such senseless killing. Defenders of Wildlife is also attempting to ensure the creation of strong, science -based wildlife management policies.

Recently, under pressure from Defenders of Wildlife and other groups, the state of Montana has temporarily stopped allowing wolves to be hunted in most park border areas. But it’s only a matter of measure…

In the long term, wolves like Dagmar (#832F), and all of American very much loved wolves, can only be safe when sound, science-based wildlife plans and policies are in the place that treat wolves not as vermin but as critical parts of their ecosystems — not to mention wild creatures LOVED BY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS OF ALL RACES. The enemies are the extension of a people who were wiling to exterminate whatever obstacles lay in the path of their objective. Attrition is the whites own methodology.

The wolf: teacher, leader, and family devoted, who problem solves and endures persistently to protect and provide. Even the males puppy sit the pups while the mother is out looking for food!

There is an answer and it is not by the bullet, the sub machine gun, or the arrow.

Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!



February 4, 2013


Kateri Tekawitha, a 17th century Catholic convert known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” became the first Native American ever elevated to sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI canonized her recently October 21, 2013, in a ceremony in Rome, Italy.  The daughter of an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk chief father, Tekawitha was born in 1656 in upstate New York on the southern bank of the Mohawk River.

Orphaned at age 4 when smallpox killed her parents and brother, she was adoptee by her aunt and uncle and was baptized aat age 20 near what is now called Fonda, New York. She earned sainthood status from a miracle reported at her death at age 24. Her disfigured smallpox scars are said to have completely vanished, and sick participants in her funeral were inexplicably healed. And, in 2006, a young boy suffering from a flesh-eating bacterial infection in Washington state was miraculously cured after his parents prayed to (Kateri ~ Katherine) Tekawitha.
Read more about Saint Tekawitha

Saint Kateri Statue Rosebud Reservation

Personally I had long taken Saint Tekawitha as my patron saint, even before sainthood.  It was Teddie Rae Herman Rogers of the Rosebud Sicangu Lakota Reservation who personally took me to St. Francis on the Rosebud.  I was astonished to see a statue of Tekawitha last October 8, 2012, after our Give Away on the Rosebud.  We got to see the lands of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, Spotted Elk and Red Cloud up personal, way far out, and close to the heart.  Their home has taken my heart and I would be there always if I could.  We were back in the hills and ridges, breaks and coulees in the grasses and sage, walking little known (to whites) trails and wading in the White River.  It was incomprehensible, beautiful, and humbling.

Within less than two weeks, the “Lily of the Mohawks” was granted sainthood after 357 years of beautification (“on hold”).  At least one to two miracles have to be attributed to the human being before they are considered for sainthood.  She certainly has been attributed to real miracles. Go visit her. . .

Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!


Russell Means, the well known Native American activist, and actor passed away at the age of 72 in October, 2012.

I have been following Russell Means and the causes he represents with great interest and deep passion since 1973. Sometimes not always in perfect harmony with his attitudes, philosophy, opinions or actions, yet, I would say I agree with them and him more often that I don’t. I wish I could have been there at Wounded Knee II in 1973 to throw in my all for the glory and pride to stand up, with, and for some of the coolest, most grounded people in this country ~ the OGLALA and SICANGU LAKOTA SIOUX, and their brothers and sisters nationwide. I wish them all my best in their endeavors at claiming what is rightfully theirs, not ours. Yes, Russell Means is a personal hero to me.

Read more about Russell Means.
Cindy Hicks-Orth
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.

Email: for more information about our not-for-profit foundation!

October 30, 2012


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the only American woman to be blessed by the Vatican as a Saint was canonized this past week.There is a statue edifying the newly Sainted Kateri Tekakwitha outside the St. Francis Mission Church, in the town of St. Francis, located on the Lakota Sicangu Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

Saint Kateri Statue Rosebud Reservation

Kateri was a young Mohawk Native American Indian Maiden who passed over at the age of 24, perhaps from smallpox.  She is referred to as the Lily of the Mohawks. In her short life, she lived in the area of New York, and then removed north to the Montreal/Quebec area before succumbing to illness, then death. Her Statue stands at the Catholic Church in St. Francis, South Dakota on the Rosebud Sicangu Lakota Reservation.

Catherine (Kateri) was born an in the Ossernenon Iroquois Confederacy (Algonquin-Mohawk) April 17, 1656 and died April 17, 1680, present day New York. She was a religious laywoman who survived smallpox and was orphaned as a child, then baptized as a Roman Catholic. Kateri settled for the last years of her life at the Jesuit Mission south of Montreal, New France, now Canada.

She was likely born into the Turtle Clan and when she was young, the Mohawk suffered from a smallpox epidemic from 1661 to 1663. Kateri’s brother and both of her parents died and she was left with scars and impaired eyesight.  She was adopted by her maternal uncle, a chief of the Turtle Clan. She is best known for saying “Take courage despite the words of those who have no faith.”; “Be assured that you are pleasing in the sight of GOD and that I shall help you when I am with HIM.”

Saint Kateri Statue Rosebud Reservation

Tekawitha professed a vow of virginity until  her death at age 24.  Known for her chastity and corporal mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. (After San Diego, the Mexican Indian of the Virgin of Guadalupe apparitions, and two other Oaxacan Indians. Saint Kateri Statue Rosebud Reservation Shortly after her death around the period of Holy Week 1679, her face, which had been so swarthy and marked with disease, was said to have changed about 15 minutes after the hour of her death, and became in a moment so beautiful and so white that It was observed immediately by villagers  and priests. Of priests, Fr. Chauchetiere reported seeing Catherine at her grave, he said she appeared in “baroque splendour, for two hours he gazed upon her” and “her face lifted toward heaven as if in ecstasy.”

Katari Tekakwitha was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 21, 2012. More interesting information  regarding her early life and education,  her conversion, her mission, her religious veneration, her death and appearances and  epitaph can all be found on the Internet.

Various miracles and supernatural events are said to be attributed to her intercession.  Her patronages are ecologists, ecology, environment, environmentalism, environmentalists, the loss of her parents, people in exile, people ridiculed for their piety, Native Americans, Igorots, Cordilleras, Thomasites, Northern Luzon, Diocese of Bangued, Vicariate of Tabuk, Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe, Diocese of Baguio, Phillippines. There is a shrine to St. Katari in Kahnawake, Quebec,Canada.

Saint Kateri Statue Rosebud Reservation

Katari’s Prayer:
O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, and whose breath gives life to the entire world…Hear Me!  I am small and weak!  I need your strength and wisdom! Let me walk in beauty, and make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. 

Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.  Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not to be greater than my sister or brother, but to fight my greatest enemy…..myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”

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