By Marlies White Hat
A Blessing for the Mission City Park and Community was held on Thursday, April 1, 2021, coordinated by the Society of Care (SOC). The SOC is a group that meets monthly to bring together community partners and programs to offer Waunsila and Wicozani to our relatives and to increase the availability, collaboration and coordination of services, through Wolakota.
Recently, the SOC has been envisioning a revitalization of the Mission City Park and safe walking areas in Mission and Antelope. In preparation, the SOC wanted to offer a blessing for healing and new beginnings for the park, children, families and community. About 25 people attended the gathering including: Butch Artichoker, Fred Little Bald Eagle, Sage Fast Dog, Father Jacob Boddi, Reverend Dr. Lauren Stanley and the TGKP drum. They shared prayers, stories and songs. Dera Iyotte gave offerings to the Water and shared teachings about the healing gifts of Mni/Water is Life. Three Sunkawakan from SGU Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi (TGKP) attended contributing their spiritual healing energy.
With approval from Mayor Jack Herman and City Council, Society of Care members have been seeking opportunities to improve the park. As part of these efforts, Mission was selected for the 2021 Active Transportation Assessment Collaboration by the SD Department of Health and SDSU-Landscape Architecture Students with a goal to create more walkable communities, increasing physical activity among residents. On Thursday, March 11, SDSU Professor Dr. Don Burger and 2 staff kicked off their assessment by walking every street in Mission/Antelope with cameras and by inviting the public to a community meeting at the Boys and Girls Club. Residents shared their experiences about living in Mission/Antelope and how friendly/safe it is to walk or bike to destinations in town and their hopes for more healthy, safe places to walk and gather for recreation and community activities. SDSU students will take all of this information, complete their assessment by April 30 and present it to the City Council and Community. This assessment will help with sound planning and fundraising for improvements.
The City has already purchased new playground equipment and the SOC is seeking grants for park benches, picnic tables, bike racks, refuse containers, ramps and ground cover materials under the playground. Other improvements suggested at the recent meeting at Boys & Girls club were a splash pad, nature walk and bridge over creek, skatepark and safe path along the Antelope Creek to the Antelope damn for fishing. SGU Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi could also bring a few horses from time to time to give families who walk to the park an opportunity to connect with the Sunkawakan Oyate.
Ron Frederick, SDSU 4-H and Glen Marshall, Boys & Girls Club of Rosebud, have offered to work with youth volunteers to help and give youth ownership of the park/improvements as they develop. More volunteers are welcome. For more information, please contact: Glen at 605-856-4114 or Ron at 605-856-2198.
For more information on the SOC, please contact Marlies White Hat at TGKP or 605-828-0396.