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Thanks to the efforts of the DK Quilt Guild, someone will soon be the owner of an extraordinarily fine quilt, and the food pantry of the community of San Isabel on the Cheyenne River Reservation in north-central South Dakota will be better stocked for the 250 Lakota people who live there. The name of the project is Okiciyap, Lakota for "We Help." Your contributions can help them help. Further along in this diary, you will find details about the quilt and rules for the auction (which begins Wednesday at 3 p.m Pacific Time.) But, first I want to talk about why this project matters and how the Okiciyap Food Pantry came to be.

The Okiciyap project touches me personally. Let me repeat a story I've told before when I lived with my Seminole family in southwest Georgia:

I was 6 years old and sitting next to my grandmother at the table where as many as 14 of our extended family members ate our evening meals. I quickly finished my small plate of rice and beans, and said, "But, grandma, I’m still hungry." Everyone went silent. My grandma, Simmalikee, smiled at me, took her plate and scraped off the several spoonfuls she had not yet eaten onto mine. No, I thought. Not your food, grandma. Some other food. I sobbed as she coaxed me to eat each bite. No matter how empty my belly felt, I never again said I was still hungry after a meal.

That was a long time ago, and my grandma has been dead more than 50 years, but I have never forgotten that terrible moment nor what it means to be poor.

Okiciyap Auction quiltI know that at Cheyenne River there are 6-year-olds and other children as well as adults who on some days go to bed with empty bellies.  

But because of the ferocious compassion and strength of Eagle Wings Woman, also known as Georgia Little Shield, who in her all-too-short-life was a warrior for her people, Okiciyap was conceived and turned into reality. Even though she has walked on into whatever lies beyond this life, the project Georgia built has been reducing how many days each year those bellies aren't filled.

In this day and age, it can be argued that projects like Okiciyap should not even need to exist. But they do. More than 125 years since the last tribes were forced onto reservations at the end of the Indian Wars, there has still been no Marshall Plan to help them rebuild, and many Native people still struggle just to stay alive. Many don't make it. That is the reality. The misbegotten emphasis in Washington on the deficit will make the problems at Cheyenne River and other reservations worse. But, against odds of poverty, 80 percent unemployment, government bureaucracy, societal indifference and raw hunger, a few people like Georgia stand as warriors to help their communities even when they themselves often live on fixed incomes of as little as $300 a month.

Georgia Little Shield (1959-2012)
Georgia first came to the attention here at Daily Kos when she became the director of Pretty Bird Woman House, a women's shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, from 2005 until 2010 when health problems forced her to quit. The Daily Kos community helped raise $30,000 for the shelter. Two years ago, her health improved. At Cheyenne River, south of Standing Rock, she became aware of an important need for a community-strengthening program to fight poverty, hunger and the epidemic of teen suicide.

Thus did Okiciyap come into being. In the summer of 2011, Okiciyap set up a temporary office in a small trailer. Later, Georgia found someone willing to donate a permanent structure, a modular 40-foot by 60-foot building. But it was 30 miles from Isabel. Moving it would cost $10,000, and another $10,000 was needed to set up utilities until Okiciyap could obtain grants to keep the facility running on its own. Under the auspices of AndyT and betson08, netroots fundraising began in late October and by the end of December enough money had been raised to get the building to Isabel, a move that was completed 14 months ago.

Okiciyap Building move
The building being transported
Okiciyap Building move
The building arrives

Subsequently, stairs and a ramp were built with community labor to make the building suitable for its purposes.

The DK Quilt Guild decided that its first group project would be to use members' skills to make a quilt to auction for the benefit of the Okiciyap food pantry and youth program.

Okiciyap Pantry's New Website and Donation Button  

My friend Aji has written:

Quilts have a time-honored history in Indian Country, particularly among the Indian nations of the Northern Plains (for example, among the Oceti Sakowin, or Sioux Nations, of which Cheyenne River is a part). Lakota star quilts are famed for the beauty, artistry, and infusions of Spirit. Today, as modern technology shrinks physical barriers between our worlds, star quilts and quilts in other traditional patterns have spread throughout Indian Country as an intertribal art form.
In her diary, you can see enlarged photos of all the blocks in the Okiciyap quilt:

Okiciyap Auction quilt

BeadLady has explained some details and the idea behind the dream-catcher block she herself created:

Twelve blocks were made by different quilters, Melanie in Iowa put the quilt together, and I had the pleasure of quilting and binding it. [...]

Block 5The quilt top and back are made from 100% cotton. Thread used was also 100% cotton. The batting is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. I'm noting this in case anyone has an allergy to wool, etc. The quilt is 50" wide x 64" long. It's a nice, cozy quilt ready to snuggle under as a lap quilt or it can also be hung on the wall as a wonderful art quilt.  

Each quilter made a block of their own design. I asked Melanie to make a block leaving me white space to quilt something special. I was able to take a couple of different ideas and put them together to make a Dream Catcher. "The dream catcher is hung above a sleeping area in a place where the morning light can hit it. The nature of the Dream Catcher will attract all sorts of dreams to its webs. When bad dreams come, they do not know the way through the web and get caught in the webbing where the first light of day causes them to melt away and perish. The good dreams knowing the way go through the center of the web and slide down the feather to the sleeper below. ..."

1) Auction begins on Wednesday, March 27. Bids will first be accepted in the diary published that day by GreyHawk.  The final day of the auction is Sunday, April 7, 2013, at approximately 7:00 p.m. CT. The last two+ hours of the auction will be held online from 5:00 p.m. central until 7 p.m. central in the DKQG diary.  If  no higher bids are posted by 7:10 p.m. the best bid before 7:00 p.m. central will be declared the winner.  

1.1)The auction will end as soon as no higher bids are posted within 10 minutes of the highest bid received. Final bids will be decided by the time posted on the message. The decision of the judges on winning bid is final.

1.2)After the final bid is decided and the successful bidder notified, the donation to the pantry will be made, and once confirmed,  BeadLady will send the quilt to the lucky winner!  The pantry is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, this donation can be tax deductable.

2) Bids will be accepted by making comments in diaries, as well as by kosmailing weck and/or glorificus at any time to make arrangements for anonymous or absentee bidding.

2.1)  If you wish to remain anonymous, you may set that up with weck or glorificus in advance, and we will use a number when we post your bids in a diary.  (example = Anon-02)

2.2)  If you want to leave an absentee bid, you may do that with either weck or glorificus.  We will need to know the highest amount you are willing to bid and we will place those bids for you in 10 dollar increments as the bidding progresses throughout the auction.  If the bidding goes higher than you first authorized, you may contact the same person again with a new top limit, or bid in the diaries. Absentee bids should be
placed with weck or glorificus as far in advance as possible.

3) Bidding by groups or organizations is allowed, as long as only one contact name is used.  Please let us know the details of your group or organization and who is the official spokesperson for the group or organization.

4) Bidding is in minimum increments of $10.00. You may bid in higher increments that can be divided evenly by $10.00.

4.1) Bids must be in U.S. funds.

5) weck and glorificus will do their best to inform all bidders of the newest high bid.  To receive this information in you Kosmail box, please ask weck or glorificus to join Daily Kos Quilt Guild Auction Alliance group.  

5.1) We will send groupmail to everyone (Each member will be made an editor for the duration of the auction) Reminder: A groupmail won't show up on your main page; you will have to check for messages manually.

6) A PayPal link will be included for other donations to Okiciyap.  While we cherish the thought that you may choose to donate to Okiciyap during the auction, there is no advantage in the auction to doing that.  It is not necessary to donate through the PayPal to Okiciyap to bid in the auction. To use the paypal link, click on the link that goes to the Okiciyap Pantry's new website.

7)  The winning bidder can make payment arrangements that are not through PayPal with weck or glorificus.  We know that some folks don't use PayPal.

8)  The winning bidder will have 48 hours to confirm their success.  After 48 hours, the judges may, at their discretion, offer the second highest bidder the opportunity to redeem the quilt.  The decision of the judges is final.

Previous Diaries in the Okiciyap Auction Series

Glen the Plumber
One Pissed Off Liberal
Pam from Calif

If you cannot afford to bid on the quilt, or if you were outbid, you can contribute to Okiciyap here:

Okiciyap Food Pantry
P.O. Box 172
Isabel, S.D. 57633

Okiciyap Pantry's New Website and Donation Button  


Originally posted to Native American Netroots on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 04:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Okiciyap (we help), J Town, SFKossacks, Hunger in America, Street Prophets , Invisible People, DK Quilt Guild, and Daily Kos Quilt Guild Auction Alliance.

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