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Plan For New Native American Community Center Unveiled

The center is still in the early stages of planning but officials in the He Sapa Otipi organization hope to have the facility approved and completed in the next five years 

Cante Heart is a community organizer and on the board of directors for the proposed community center. 

She sees the center as a place of understanding for the whole community. 

“It’s a place for us to reconnect with native and non-native people so that we can teach them our traditions and that we can carry on our legacy to our children. And so right now, we are looking for the support of our community. We want all voices at the table.  We want the input from our community.  We are in the vision planning stages of our community center and we can’t do this without the voices of our community.” 

Heart wants a place where Rapid City’s community can come together and carry on the Lakota legacy. 

The community center would need between 30 and 50,000  square  

feet of space to meet their needs. 

Bev Warne is a member of the board for the community center and a respected community elder. 

She grew up learning traditional Lakota values and wants to pass those values to the next generation. 

“Our values need to be kept alive and well by our example and by our teaching of the youth. The youth will have a place to come. We hopefully will have an industrial sized kitchen where we can serve food to the children after school.” 

Warne says their children need that connection to their community and culture. 

She says a community center is an important part of keeping Lakota children engaged in education without losing touch with their traditions.