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Aspen Ute Foundation

Forgotten children of Lakota Rez


My name is Deanne Vitrac-Kessler, I am the Director of Aspen Ute Foundation, a non profit organization that works with Native American Indian programs.

This fundraiser is  to help build a home for an impoverish Lakota family of Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.  This home will also serve as a "safe house" for surrounding Lakota children at risk.  These children (age ranging from infant to teenager) come from homes where there is no parental care,  they are raised in a drug and alcolhol environment and often are verbally and physically abused.  Those kids, out of despair, eventually make wrong choices for their lives and often commit suicide.  Local social services don't know how to deal with them as they are labeled "hopeless"so they fall through the craks of our system, forgotten.

Phyllis Bald Eagle and Amos Black Horse Cook,  both descendant of prominent Lakota families and raised on the Reservation,  have for the past 12 years taken in many of those children at risk.  They are successfully raising 3 sons of their own while providing a temporary home for these children.  They not only provide for them, on their meager income, room and board but most importantly they teach them about their culture, their heritage through songs and prayers.  They give them hope and a reason to go on living.  

Like most housing on American Indian Reservations, their home is a small trailer with insufficient surface to house that many people.  The insulation and sewage systems are less than adequate, and because they are just "temporary renters" there is no incentive to make sacrifice to improve where they live.

Phyllis owns a piece of land adjacent to the little community of Takini.  There is an underground water bed that will provide clean water.   Amos and Phyllis have horses there and use them as healing therapy for the children.   This land will be the site for the new home.  The Tipi Raisers, a non profit organization dedicated to better the lives of Lakota people,  will be in charge of building the house.  Building materials have been donated [logs from cut down trees infected by pine beetles from Colorado}.  House plans are graciously provided in collaboration with the Denver University Architecture Department as well as some labor force.  It will have a dormitory to sleep 6 in addition to 2 bedrooms.

Funds needed [$50,000] is to cover cost to transport building materials to site as well as dig house foundation and utilities and sewage hook ups.

Please help make a difference in the lives of Phyllis and Amos and the forgotten Lakota children.  This is an opportunity to make an impact on future generations by saving the children,  giving them a chance at  becoming healthy adults and thus perpetuating their cultural and spiritual ways.  Any donation is greatly appreciated!

With heartfelt gratitude,  

Deanne Vitrac-Kessler


Donate by sending a check in the name of Davi Nikent/AUF

Write in memo: Lakota house Project

Mail to:

Aspen Ute Foundation - PO BOX 291 - Woody Creek. CO 81656