Donate in many ways to make a difference for so many with Native Now

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This will be a big summer for the Native Now Foundation, and there are several ways you can help make this the most successful fundraising year ever. Do you have good, gently-used clothes to donate? What about some time to take a little trip out West? Are you in the market for a great tax-deductible charitable opportunity?

Native Now Foundation, a Florida 501(c)(3) non-profit created in Boca Grande by island resident Lew Hastings in 2013, is planning an Indian taco fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, June 27, beginning at 11a.m. in the courtyard next to Hudson’s Grocery. Come out and get homemade frybread tacos for lunch, served until they run out.

Another fundraiser is planned for Friday, July 3 at the Ruby Tuesday’s in the Port Charlotte Town Center Mall. You can go to nativenowfoundation.org and print the Ruby Tuesday’s “Give Back” flyer and bring it with you to lunch or dinner, and Ruby Tuesday’s will donate 20 percent of your check total to the Native Now Foundation’s Red Road Culture Camp Program.

The program is being developed for indigenous youth to learn language, culture and history from tribal elders in a camp setting. This program is designed to build confidence, self-esteem and generate strong social networks led by positive role models from the community.

Last December the Eagle family traveled to Boca Grande from Eagle Butte, South Dakota and the Cheyenne River Reservation. Native Now organized the trip through fundraisers, as part of a mutual cultural exchange where both communities benefit from the learning experience.

The frybread taco lunch on June 27 takes that a step further, as money raised will help fund a group from the Boca Grande United Methodist Church confirmation class (and their chaperones) on a mission trip to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota scheduled for July 25 through August 1. It will be led by Hastings. This will be Hastings’ third trip to the Cheyenne River Reservation and he will spend at least two months there this summer.

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On this trip the kids and the adults with them will have a chance to experience Lakota culture firsthand as they visit museums, attend a scheduled pow wow and spend some time with the Eagle family who visited with us here on Boca Grande for a week last November. The group will also spend some time volunteering for Okiciyapi Tipi Housing Partnerships, a non-profit corporation dedicated to renovating and improving living conditions on the reservation for families in need.

Hastings said they are still looking for donations to buy seven new mattresses for the bunkhouse where volunteers stay, as well as renovations to local homes. He is working with Okiciyapi Tipi, Sitting Bull College and Equine Therapy Groups in that area, as well as Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce, which will extend the group’s realm of help to three reservations – Cheyenne River, Standing Rock and Pine Ridge Lakota Nations.

“In the larger picture it is important for the Native Now Foundation to continue its mission to engage and empower not just Native communities, but all people to learn from one another culturally, and how we are connected historically,” Hastings said. “There is far too much misinformation out there regarding our Native American population. We need to set the record straight by letting people know that there are thriving, viable Native communities in this country and all over the world that continue to contribute substantially to our collective well being and to our future on this planet. The opportunity to have the Eagle family come to Southwest Florida was priceless, as I’m sure it will be for our Methodist youth group. We have to give the next generation of young people in our country the right information, and teach them about Native culture and what life is like on the Great Plains. This experience will be far and above anything either community can get from reading a book or taking a class. That is what you call real connectivity.”

If you would like to help these kids with their trip, have donations like clothes or blankets you would like for Hastings to take to the Reservation, or if you would just like to donate to the charity, call (877) 903-4889 or go to nativenowfoundation.org and click the donate button.

Help Native Now to engage, empower and make history.

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