One of the wonderful benefits of being a columnist for Native Sun News Today has been making new friends throughout Indian Country, mostly through emails, but once in a while we have the opportunity to meet in person. One is Lettie Irons Connell, a Lakota lady with roots from Standing Rock, living in the southwest, working in Veteran’s Affairs. She and companions came to the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn to present medals to Native Veterans from the Rolling Thunder organization. She contacted me before that via email to ask for some assistance in getting that arranged. Tribal officials were very accommodating, making that presentation a highlight of the Northern Cheyenne presentation at the anniversary events last June.
Then I had the opportunity to introduce her to many Northern Cheyenne, including Mom who found Lettie and her sister quite charming. Since, Lettie has been a dedicated reader of my scribbling, including a recent column about the need for bunk beds for “Baby Girl”, a four-year Cheyenne girl and her two brothers currently sleeping on a hard cold floor at their Grandmother’s house after the Meth Master destroyed their family. Having visited the Northern Cheyenne reservation, that column touched her heart as she had seen first-hand some of the dreadful poverty which the Cheyenne people endure. So she went into action, appealing to many of her friends and associates to help remedy the situation. Christmas, after all, is a time when people are more inclined to help the less fortunate.
Lettie recently called to say that good-hearted people from her area, including many non-Indians and veterans, responded to her appeal for “Baby Girl” bunk bed funds. Actually, they raised much more than necessary for the bunk beds the surplus to go towards Christmas gifts for several other deserving Cheyenne children, wood for some needy elders, and I’m thinking some food baskets, since many of our people run out of food at the end of the month. They responded to her appeal with more funding than she requested and more than I dreamed of.
Thank you Lettie and friends and thank you Tim Giago for giving the opportunity to share this need. Surely, Maheo’o, the Creator will bless you for that. I can only humbly thank you and make sure that “Baby Girl” knows that both of you helped. When she is warm and comfortable in her new bunk bed in a small house warmed by wood heat this winter, her little belly full from a nice Christmas meal and treats, mayhap she will think of you.
(Clara Caufield can be reached at email@example.com)