Giving Back to Wounded Knee 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.”

October 29, 2012


In mid June a four day horse back ride across the Rosebud Reservation was held to encourage Lakota based family friendly events. Over sixty participants rode horses all day and made camp at the evening camp site each night.  The purpose of the ride was to encourage tribal members to connect with the land, the healing capacity of the horse, and the Tiospaye.

Giving Back To Wounded Knee Founder Cindy Hicks-Orth says:

Ride Across The Rosebud

I cannot tell you enough how much I support this activity and function which includes Lakota children, parents, grandparents, friends, and interested parties who put so much of their love into this “horse walk” twice a year.  This is a highly valued function for families of the Rosebud.  Anyone out there willing to supply cold water, wrapped sandwiches, and little personal care packages of hand lotion, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a little bar of soap, lip balm, please do chip in. 

I have to hand it to the parents, Noell (with the parasol)  and Shane Red Hawk for organizing this activity and lessons in riding and equine therapy and how to make it along the trail.

2012 Ride Across The Rosebud

GET IT????  There’s a lot in life that parallels this activity.  Next summer they will probably have close to 100 join in.  2011 they had around 57, and 2012, 75.  So this MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY is really well planned and growing.

Next summer I am going to be on one of those horses!  If anyone would like to come along, let me know.  In the meantime, please search your heart for a few bucks for ice, sandwiches, and personal care items for each participant.

Read the entire article about the event in the Lakota Country Times.

Many thanks and God Bless You in Lakota.

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

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

October 21, 2012


Hello Everyone!

An update from our most recent excursion out to the Rosebud Sicangu Lakota Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota.

In short, it was the most successful Give Away we have ever had ~ it was indeed “GRAND”! Our Board of Directors gives great thanks to Pat Riegel, Randy Morris and Brittany Campbell from the First Assembly of God Church in Kalamazoo, and Ms. Joanna White Bark from Sandwich, Illinois,selflessly donated their time and HARD WORK in our setup on October 5, and Sharon Swift on the Rosebud, and Teddie Rae (Herman) Rogers and her husband, Stan, and to all of the rest of the small army of those from the Rosebud who assisted us with keys to open doors and turn on lights at the Veteran’s Gymnasium, swing the bleachers around to be used as shelving and helped oversee the function for their people on the Rosebud, as well as the Rosebud Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Richard Bad Milk, and Rosebud Sioux Tribe President, Mr. Cyril Scott and so many others whom we met and helped us tremendously seeing to our every need.

It is hard to list all of the beautiful things we had to carry out to Rosebud by truck and trailer to give to the people of the Rosebud Tribe. BUT, among these were:

Hundreds upon hundreds of hand knit wool caps, ear protectors, mittens, and neck scarves, (literally huge leaf bags full of these items) ~Shoes, socks, underclothing, shirts, blouses, sweaters, skirts, coats, lined raincoats, suits, hundreds of infant and baby wear, baby blankets, toys and books for all ages of children, games and puzzles, CD’s and DVD’s of history of the Sioux Peoples and Great Chiefs, school supplies donated by retiring teachers, all manner of notebooks, paper, scissors, crayons, pens, pencils, and on and on.

Thanks to the contributions of so many people, we were able to purchase or have donated by very generous donors, wonderful sleeping bags, extra warm for the frigid South Dakota winters on the high plains. We had literally hundreds of sleeping bags which were raffled off to the crowd by Mr. Dave Riegel.

We had TV’s, firepits, toasters, christmas trees and hundreds of beautiful ornaments, flannel sheet sets, sheet sets for both queen and twin beds, comforters, over 100 blankets, afghans, quilts, throws, shawls,bedspreads, good mattress pads and again more comforters stacked pile high.

We made use of all of the bleachers in the gymnasium as shelves on both sides of the gymnasium and not a square inch of any of them was spared because of all of your beautiful contributions and selfless generosity.

We had stacks and stacks of tee shirts, denim blue jeans of all sizes, men’s and women’s clothing, clothing for teens and little tots. Among these were snowsuits for children and winter jackets and coats for all ages, all in fabulous condition. Mrs. Karen Southland donated dozens of Kika Paprika women’s wear from her fabulous collection of natural clothing made in California. I have several pieces of her clothing and of all things, they are made from re-cycled plastic bottles, and however they do it, these pieces are among some of the prettiest and soft pieces you could ever wear. They are beautiful. And of course, they, being in packages, were quickly snatched up by the ladies!

We also had more chairs donated by the Comfort Inn in Plainwell and many fine pieces of clothing donated by Stadium and Washwell Cleaners in Plainwell and Kalamazoo, already dry cleaned and given to us to take to South Dakota. These particular beautiful and cleaned items were those which for some reason, were never picked up, after hanging at the cleaners in their garment bags, for a year. We were the lucky recipients of their generosity again this year.

We also had boxes of hygiene lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes in packages, shampoo and conditioner, and aspirin and cough medicine from generous traveling contributors who emptied their collections by giving them to us to take to South Dakota.

And we had over hundreds and hundreds of new teddy bears, many of them donated by Michigan State University on a “Teddy Bear Drive” directed by Mr. Mark Terman, Vice President of Principle Gifts and his entire department pitched in! Every child who attended was given a precious new little bear, of which came in many sizes as did the children.

We also had a heaters donated and a new chain saw for cutting wood for winter warmth. We even had a lovely jewelry collection which the ladies enjoyed plus a computer, tools, sporting goods such as bats and soft balls, tennis racket and balls, skis, and lastly, a collection of walking canes to steady the walking of some of the folks. And yes, we also had a lovely little girl’s tricycle in the mix as well. So, just about anything you would use or wear, we would love to organize, pack, and take with us.

I cannot describe the high standard of goods contributed by the wonderful donors who support us, with our work with the beautiful people on the Rosebud Sicangu Lakota Sioux Tribe and the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux out in South Dakota. I think by now, everyone who donates goods to our cause knows that we accept only the best items, either new or gently worn without showing wear, spots, tears, and stains. We are proud of the high standards of donated items we receive and it makes us proud to share them with our Sioux brothers and sisters. Anything that you would sell in a garage sale is something we would probably want to take out to South Dakota. And the reason we take these items out is that we love to see the faces of the folks who receive them. It is a most heart-warming experience.

And, of course, as this function is never ending, we start all over again, preparing for next year’s Grand Give Away. So our word goes out to you to please look through your closets and basements and garages for clothing to tools, that perhaps you no longer wear, or haven’t worn in a year or so, or things you feel you may no longer be needing.

We do not have our date set yet for next year, but we will be going again, for the 6th time, to take to the needy. And I always hate to ask but we need financial contributions as well to help offset the rental of the truck, the diesel fuel, automobile fuel, and overnight costs. Other than this, none of us takes a penny for ourselves. Our Foundation is entirely volunteer, not only of time but also of our money. But donations surely do help us. The economy has been hard on the recipients of our Give Aways, and for those doing the work, setting up, collecting, storing and all manner of extra things which come up.

I know we are going into the Christmas Season and money comes hard but please do try to think of us at whatever time you feel you can support us, either with goods or finances.

Thanks to all of you from the bottoms of our hearts and from the grateful citizens of the Lakota Sicangu Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota. They really are great, warm, loving people!

Again, our sincere thanks for making this Give Away, Oct. 6, 2012, the best one we have ever had the joy to bring to South Dakota. We have beautiful photographs which will be posted to our website and sent to each of you so that you can see for yourself the “department store” atmosphere we created on the Rosebud at the Veteran’s Gymnasium with the items that you, yourself/yourselves donated to the Give Away.

With Sincere Thanks,

Cynthia J. Hicks-Orth (Cindy) / Plainwell, Michigan

Dave Riegel, Vice President / Plainwell, Michigan

Cheryl Arra Gatto, Vice President / Naperville, Illinois

Nancy Levy / Golden, Colorado








October 1, 2012


Hello Friends of Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.,

We are preparing to leave for the Rosebud Lakota Sicangu Sioux Reservation with a truck loaded down with sleeping bags, wonderful clothing, blankets, coats, household goods, and stuffed animals and teddy bears for the little tots.

The Grand Give Away will be held at the Veteran’s Gymnasium next Saturday, October 6, 2012. We are expecting a huge turnout and I believe we have more items for the good folks on the Rosebud than we have had in prior years, and both 2010 and 2011, when we had more than 20,000 items. We will also be serving refreshments.

Hoping our weather will be as good as the projected turn-out! We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. We thank everyone who has contributed to our annual Give Away.

Pilamaya Wopila Tanka (that’s ” many thanks” in Lakota)
and Wokan Tanka Kici Un (May God Bless.)

Cynthia J. Hicks-Orth (Cindy)
Giving Back To Wounded Knee Foundation, Inc.
232 Spruceview Drive
Plainwell, Michigan 49080

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



Wolf Pack