Our purpose, is to provide assistance and support
to Native American children living on and off the reservation
system in North, Central and South America. Since many
Native American reservations have unemployment rates upwards
of 60 to 80%,
extreme poverty levels, despair and continual high incidences of alcoholism, it is the children who, more often
than not, suffer the worst.
During their most important developmental years, when they
should be developing their minds and creativity, many indigenous children are just dealing with how to survive to the next day.
Therefore, our efforts will focus solely on these children and
in some instances their families as a whole.

Background

Indigenous Children of the Americas is a project that began
in 1999 without any formal structure or organization, but rather
as a team effort of several Native American women who were deeply concerned about the plight of Native American children, focusing
initially on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

We began by collecting toys for Christmas distribution,
then expanded into a winter needs campaign consisting
of gloves, hats, socks and blankets.

This was accomplished through our own
personal contributions via bargain shopping.
As the need for relief help became more apparent,
we began collecting school supplies, sundries, and
of course food. It was during this time that friends
and family members started contributing to our
cause and thus the need arose for a more
structured organization.

Since UPS, and most other shipping companies
do not deliver to the reservations, we needed to raise
funds for shipping via US Postal Service. Various donors
would give cash for shipping costs or donate some of
the needed items. Many costs were self-funded.





While the scope of our efforts was small in nature,
we were highly effective at identifying extreme instances
of poverty-stricken families and getting the supplies directly
to those families.
Eventually the needs of other reservations
as well as Native Americans living in urban areas were
brought to our attention as well.

There were instances of children with little
or no winter clothing living in areas of the country where
the average daily temperatures in the winter are known to
dip to 20 below or more. In one instance there was a family
that was forced to endure such a winter
with only a blanket
for a front door due to a tornado ripping the door off a
family’s trailer the prior winter. We subsequently
sent many supplies to that family.


Many Native American families living well below
the poverty level would not have had a Christmas
were
it not for our efforts and the contributions of our supporters.
For three years we have functioned in this way and we are
now taking the next steps to grow our efforts in order to
attract government and private grants as well as
establishing a formal organization that can
offer tax deductions
for donations
from individuals.

In the summer of 2002 we filled Articles of
Incorporation with the Secretary of State of California
to establish a non-profit corporation
. Our next steps
will involve the development of an on-going fund
raising campaign and an expansion of
our program.


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