Archive for September, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Honors Lori Bishop

Lori Bishop, an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe was born and raised in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. She attended grade school at Chamberlain Elementary and Crow Creek High School in Stephan, South Dakota where she graduated in 1992.

During her junior year at Crow Creek High, Lori began her working career by hiring on with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a Park Ranger. The position with the Corps was Lori’s first, and it showed her the importance of, and the freedoms provided by, a good job on the reservation. After high school Lori took advantage of some of the rare job opportunities on Crow Creek, working at the Lode Star Casino, Lynn’s Dakota Mart, Crow Creek Tribal Schools, and the Crow Creek Head Start program. In 2001, Lori accepted a position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a realty clerk at the Crow Creek Agency in Fort Thompson, where she has been loyally assisting the realty specialists for 10 years.

A single mother of two, Lori enjoys raising her 18 year old son and her 11 year old daughter, staying active in their school and extra-curricular activities. Finding time in her very busy life for community service is not easy, but Lori has done just that. Thru the past years she has served the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate Dacotah Tipis well. By volunteering on the family support, family selection, and fundraising committees, Lori has served both her reservation community and Dakota Tipis as loyally as she serves in her realty office position. All of this dedicated volunteerism comes after an unsuccessful attempt at applying to the Habitat program herself years ago.

Lori is currently serving her second year as a Director on the Board for HFH Dacotah Tipis, helping to guide and govern the organization, as well as her continued loyal service on the Family Selection, Family Support, and Fundraising committees.

Habitat’s Uphill Battle in Rural America

For a Habitat for Humanity affiliate to be effective they must be able to raise money and recruit volunteers. They typically receive support from community organizations such as churches and various civic organizations. It is also common to see small businesses and large corporations playing a key role. In general, more partnerships mean more homes.

Unfortunately, some Habitat for Humanity affiliates service geographical areas where receiving local support is very difficult. This is the case for Dacotah Tipis Habitat for Humanity located in central South Dakota on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

The reasons are as follows:

  • Low population. With a population of 805,000, South Dakota is the fifth smallest state. Most of the population is concentrated on the Western or Eastern ends of state in or near Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Crow Creek sits in the middle – and is about as rural as you can get. As a result, there are less people to ask for help.
  • With the low population comes less businesses, churches, and civic organizations to work with. Typically those groups are a great support network for non-profits.
  • Poverty… This is the lowest per capita income area in the country. It is hard to find individuals who have risen far enough above the poverty line to provide help.
  • Outside the area, we find a surprising amount of prejudice and a lack of understanding in regards to the Native Americans. The casino on the reservation will not make them rich and they do not receive any tribal member benefits.
  • National/World disasters… It’s hard to turn on the TV without seeing a flood, tornado, earthquake, or a hurricane somewhere. Consequently, the support that would be directed towards the ever present disaster of inadequate housing is being constantly redirected to the disaster of the day.

Here’s the irony…

The need for decent housing on the Crow Creek Reservation is so great, many consider it a crisis. Too many of the homes are overcrowded and in failing condition. A lack of adequate heat and black mold infestations are commonplace. Given that, the only homes being built here are the Dacotah Tipis HFH homes – that’s it. Yet we struggle for support.

So what are we doing about it?

The short answer is “quite a bit”. A better answer is “not enough”. The good news is that the challenge has energized us. After some soul searching and a couple of very lively meetings, we’ve launched a new website, a newsletter, and a donor contact campaign. This revitalized effort combined with the interest in the Native culture in the area is showing signs of paying off. We have added new talent to our board of directors and we’re asking the existing members to re-double their efforts. All of us are charging into 2012 with a renewed commitment and call to action. No, we’re not giving up the fight!

What needs to be done?

  • Complete the two houses in progress. One is closed in and needs the interior finished. The other only has a foundation that is capped and ready to frame.
  • Break ground and build the next three houses to complete the current phase.
  • Begin negotiations with the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe for the next parcel of land.
  • We need to get the message out. Each home is a life changer for the families. In Crow Creek, this is their best chance to change a cycle of hopelessness.
  • We need you to get involved by contacting Dacotah Tipis and volunteering.

Every child deserves a decent home!

At Crow Creek it’s a Leg Up, not a Hand Out

Much of Crow Creek lives in poverty. The reservation has too high of an unemployment rate and too many residents living well below the poverty line. It’s easy to find overcrowded houses in poor condition. This is the working environment for Dacotah Tipis Habitat for Humanity. And we are proud to be one of the independent non-profits working diligently to improve the situation.

As we strive to put families into homes we are often asked if we are “giving away” homes. The answer often brings a surprise. The answer is “no”. The policy is consistent across all Habitat for Humanity affiliates. A partner family must make a down payment, work 500 hours of sweat equity, and be able to make mortgage payments on a no-interest home loan. They must also be able to pay for their homeowner’s insurance and utilities like everybody else. Homes are built at no profit and interest is not charged on loans. Building costs are financed by a revolving fund called the “Fund for Humanity.” The fund’s money comes from homeowner’s house payments, donations from supporters, grants, and money earned by affiliate fundraising activities.

The thought and the mission behind “Fund for Humanity” is simply that the poor don’t need charity, they need capital; they don’t need caseworkers, they need coworkers; and the affluent need a wise, and honorable way to divest themselves of their over-abundance and their personal need to pay it forward.

Habitat for Humanity affiliates offer homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional home financing. Generally, this includes those whose income is 30 to 50 percent of the area’s median income. (The figure is more dramatic in Crow Creek). Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, materials and labor, mortgage terms can be structured to provide payments that are in line with the family’s budget. This is why Habitat works, and is the primary reason Habitat for Humanity affiliates have the lowest forclosure percentages in the nation.

Our program offers more than an opportunity for low income families to own a house. It provides safe,  and stable homes in which children can be nurtured properly, and can be raised with a sense of pride and self worth that gives children the “leg up” they need to excel in life. Habitat family children do better in school, have more social aptitude, and are more likely to finish high school and go on to post secondary educations.

This is how Habitat breaks the cycle of poverty… by a “leg up” not a “hand-out.”

A CALL TO ACTION in Fort Thompson SD

Home Completion needed by Christmas

Our partner family’s home on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation is nearing completion but we need your help for the last few steps:

  • Wiring
  • Plumbing
  • Insulation
  • Dry Wall
  • Interior trim
  • Exterior decks
  • Sidewalks

Otherwise, the house is closed in with a shingled roof and siding. Windows are in and the rooms are framed. As a matter of fact, we are just a few donations and a few volunteer groups away—but with winter closing in, we need your help now.

Due to the economy and a series of recent disasters, obtaining funding and volunteer support has been difficult, and we do not see the situation getting any better. But here’s the good news: Dacotah Tipis is rising to the awesome challenge.

We’ve revitalized our organization by adding a new website, a newsletter, and new board members. Most importantly, we’ve strengthened our commitment to provide decent housingto Crow Creek . The need is clear; our mission is clear.

This is our call to action. We hope you answer our call.


About Our Partner Family

 Crow Creek tribal member Conrad Medicine Crow and his family of six needed a home on the reservation. To reduce their commuting time which was taking a toll on their family. They applied to Dacotah Tipis and were approved for a home. This responsible, hardworking family broke ground for their new residence, made a down payment and are working through the 500 sweat equity hours. In addition, they will have a mortgage of a 25-year no-interest home loan. As is to be expected, they are looking forward to finishing their home and moving in by Christmas.

Decent and affordable housing is a huge need on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and HFH Dacotah Tipis stands alone here in battling the crisis.

History of Crow Creek… the rest of the story


The Crow Creek Sioux Reservation is located in central South Dakota on the Eastern shore of the Missouri River reservoirs Lakes Sharpe and Francis Case surrounding the town of Fort Thompson. The landscape of the reservation primarily consists of vast areas of prairie grasslands interspersed with agricultural lands. The few wooded areas, are found along the shores of the beautiful Missouri River reservoirs and the tributary streams that flow into them.

It is indeed a land of wide open spaces. The ever blowing wind is often a striking surprise to first time visitors to this area. The northwest wind blows in some very cold wintertime weather with temperatures often sub-zero. In the summertime the south winds blow steadily and thunderstorms are very common.

Despite the extreme weather, much wildlife shares the lands of the reservation with its human inhabitants. Mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, prairie dogs, sharp-tailed grouse, pheasants, and many more species abound in this wild country. The Tribe also has a large herd of Bison, commonly called buffalo, which roam the hills. Massive numbers of geese, ducks and other migratory birds use the Missouri River as a stopover and flyway during their migrations.

The Crow Creek Sioux Reservation itself covers approximately 400 square miles. Fort Thompson is the primary community on the reservation. Big Bend and Crow Creek are the other two small communities on the reservation, although they have no stores or other services. Fort Thompson has a post office, grocery store, a gas station, a bar and a small Tribal casino. The federal government offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Indian Health Services (IHS), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are located in Fort Thompson. IHS, Indian Health Services, operates a small medical clinic in the community and the Corps manages and operates the Big Bend Dam located on the Missouri River just outside of town. The tribal offices are also located in Fort Thompson. These offices and establishments provide most of the employment opportunities on the reservation. The unemployment rate however still remains at over 80%.


The writing of history can be a sensitive matter. Particularly when writing the history of a people that primarily have an oral, rather than written, record of their past. An in-depth account will not be given here. However, many of the more important events and occurrences will be accounted here so you can get a better idea of how the current situation came to be.

Throughout history people have inhabited the shores of the Missouri River. Earth lodge villages of Arikara tribes lined the bluffs along the river in this area in the 18th century. The Arikara were gradually displaced by the more nomadic Lakota people. It is this mix of Arikara villages and Lakota encampments that the Lewis and Clark expedition encountered upon reaching this region on September 19th, 1804. Their journals are filled with vivid descriptions of the area and its inhabitants.

During the first part of the 19th century, the history of this area was one of exploration and trading by European traders and explorers. Trading posts and military forts were soon established as non-Indian people began arriving by steamboat up the Missouri River.

In 1863 the United States government established Fort Thompson eight miles upstream of the small tributary stream called Crow Creek. Fort Thompson was one of several military forts built in this region at that time. Fort Thompson was named for Clark W. Thompson, the fort’s first superintendent. Fort Thompson also served as the headquarters for the Crow Creek Agency. The Crow Creek Agency was created as a “repository” for American Indians in the aftermath of the Dakota-United States Conflict of 1862 in the neighboring State of Minnesota.

This piece, written by Roy Cook, tells the story of how the people were sent to Crow Creek in Spring of 1863. It is an excerpt from an article about Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.

A country with no regard for its past, will do little worth remembering in the future. —Abraham Lincoln
By Roy Cook

There are some bitter views as to Abraham Lincoln’s legacy with the First Americans. Also it is a tragic irony that his personage is on display on the Black Hills of the Dakota. Examine the political and legal issues of this tragic Minnesota affair under his watch. It is the largest mass execution of American people in the history of the United States.

In peace and friendship the Dakota ceded 21 million acres, over half the territory of Minnesota, many waters in Dakota language; in the 1851 Traverse des Sioux Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Despite federal promises of protection and assistance, at the Minnesota River reservations, the Dakota Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors. This non-fulfillment of treaty promises issue resulted in the Dakota Santee Sioux being found guilty by military court of joining in the so-called “Minnesota Uprising.” This avoidable tragedy was actually part of the wider Indian conflicts that plagued the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. For nearly half a century, the US govt. had been selling land in the west to pay for past and current wars domestic and abroad. Anglo and German settlers invaded the Dakota Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Dakota Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

Abuses continued at the Minnesota River reservations during July 1862 with the agents pushing the Dakota Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractor Andrew Myrick callously ignored the Santee’s pleas for help. He said, “Let them eat grass.”
Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Dakota Santee finally struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages. The initial efforts of the U.S. Army to stop the Santee warriors failed, and in a battle at Birch Coulee, Dakota Santee Sioux killed 13 American soldiers and wounded another 47 soldiers. However, on September 23, a force under the leadership of General Henry H. Sibley finally defeated the main body of Dakota Santee warriors at Wood Lake, recovering many of the hostages and forcing most of the Indians to surrender. The subsequent five-minute trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. Injustice moved very rapidly through the trials of the accused. Here, in its entirety, is Case # 241: Pay-pat-sin.
Prisoner states, “I was at Fort Ridgley and stood near the stable. I fired three shots.” The Military Tribunal found him guilty and ordered he be hanged.

The revered Anglo- Saxon principle of law that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty was reversed in the case of the Indians. Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. President Lincoln was under heavy political pressure to acknowledge states rights but he objected to what he viewed as wholesale slaughter. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He wired the commanding officer to stay the executions and forward the “full and complete record of each conviction.” He also ordered that any material that would discriminate the guilty from the questionable be included with the trial transcripts. Lincoln and Justice Department officials reviewed every case. Episcopalian Bishop Whipple pleaded for clemency but Military leaders and the Minnesota state politicians warned Lincoln that anything less than large-scale hangings would result in widespread white outrage and more violence against the Indians. After review, the president pardoned 265 of the 303 condemned Indians, approving a total of 38 executions. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: If they would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. This eagerness to buy cooperation from the state in spite of the fact that the Federal government still owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land is both tragic and ironic.

So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. After 38 of the condemned men were hanged on the 26 of December, the day after Christmas, in 1862 in what remains the largest mass hanging in United States history, the other prisoners continued to suffer in the concentration camps through the winter of 1862-63.
In late April of 1863 the remaining condemned men, along with the survivors of the Fort Snelling concentration camp, were forcibly removed from their beloved homeland in May of 1863. They were placed on boats, which transported the men from Mankato to Davenport, Iowa where they were imprisoned for an additional three years. Those from Fort Snelling were shipped down the Mississippi River to St. Louis and then up the Missouri River to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.

During the Dakota-United States Conflict of 1862, hundreds of Minnesota settlers were killed and homes destroyed during an uprising by certain bands of Dakotas. Much can be said and has been written about the circumstances and cause of the conflict that won’t attempt to be addressed here. The end result however was the hanging of 38 Dakotas and the imprisonment and subsequent extradition of all American Indians within the State of Minnesota, whether they had any involvement in the uprising or not. The Santee Dakota prisoners were sent to a prison camp and eventually to forced internment at the newly created Crow Creek Agency at Fort Thompson.

A dedicated Christian missionary, Mr. John P. Williamson accompanied the Santee Dakotas on their steamboat trip up the Missouri River to the Crow Creek Agency. Mr. Williamson gave this account of the trip, “As they look on their native hills for the last time, a dark cloud is crushing their hearts. Down they go to St. Louis thence up the Missouri to Crow Creek. But this brings little relief… The shock, the anxiety, the confinement, the pitiable diet, were naturally followed by sickness…Thirteen hundred Indians were crowded like slaves on the boiler and hurricane decks of a single boat, and fed musty hardtack and briny pork, which they had not half a chance to cook, diseases were bred which made a fearful havoc during the hot months, and the thirteen hundred souls that were landed at Crow Creek on June 1st, 1863, decreased to one thousand.”

This marked the beginning of three years of great suffering at Fort Thompson. Mr. Williamson further recorded,” For a time a teepee where no one was sick could scarcely be found, and it was a rare day when there was no funeral. So were the hills soon covered with graves. The very memory of Crow Creek became horrible to the Santee’s, who still hush their voice at the mention of the name.”

(The out of print book, “John P. Williamson, Brother of the Sioux”, is an excellent historical book about this time period. Mr. Williamson was used in a very powerful way to save the lives of thousands of Dakotas during this time period. He and his family were also significant in the creation of a written Dakota language, the writing of many of the Dakota language hymns that we still sing every week, and the spreading of the Gospel among the Dakota people. He left a legacy of great Christian revival among the Dakotas of eastern South Dakota, and his example of dedicated service and love is still noted and honored among Dakota Christians today.)

Winnebagos from Minnesota were also moved to the Crow Creek agency at this time. During these early years other bands of Dakota including Brules, Two Kettles, Yanktons, and Yanktonais joined the Santees at the Crow Creek Agency. After three horrific years of suffering the Winnebagos and most of the Santee Dakotas were relocated to reservations further downstream to what is now northeastern Nebraska. Later the Brules and some other tribes were resettled on what is now the Lower Brule Reservation. What remained on what would become the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation were several various bands of Dakotas. The last band to settle at the Crow Creek Agency was a group of Yanktonai Dakota led by their Chief, Drifting Goose. Drifting Goose and his people migrated off and on to the reservation for many years, until finally reluctantly resigning themselves to the Crow Creek Agency in 1883.

Over the coming decades many hardships confronted those on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation. Broken treaties, diminished reservation borders, encroachment by non-Indian homesteaders, introduction of alcohol, and general loss of an entire way of life, are a few of the tragic events. Eventually the federal government would construct a series of large hydropower and flood control dams on the Missouri River, including Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson. The result of the dam construction was the flooding and loss of the only well wooded areas on the reservation, the lush Missouri River shoreline. Even the community of Fort Thompson was moved from its original location to higher plains north of the old town site.

Crow Creek Today

It is said that there are approximately 2500 residents of Crow Creek. That equates to about 700 families. There are but 500 homes in Crow Creek. The situation there doesn’t seem like it has progressed in 146 years. Buffalo County is the poorest County in the United States and Crow Creek is the poorest Reservation. As hard as the government seems to have tried to break the spirit of a people in the past, as recorded in historical examples like the one above, the people of Crow Creek exist. The little we do is of little consequence as they need so much, but it is a start. One woman thanked us for our ride saying that we, “….brought us hope.”

We can only pray that we are doing good and that the situation begins to change for the health and happiness of all people, and for those of Crow Creek.

Habitat Builds 500,000th Milestone Home

Provided by Habitat for Humanity Dacotah Tipis 

Habitat for Humanity will mark a major milestone Oct. 3, 2011 when it dedicates its 500,000th house in Maai Mahiu (My Ma-hue), Kenya, and begins construction on its 500,001st house in Paterson, N.J.

Habitat for Humanity Kenya will complete the 500,000th house on Oct. 3 in partnership with families who were displaced after post-election violence erupted in the country in late 2007.

  • Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes, which were looted and burned. These internally displaced persons (IDP) lost all of their belongings and are living in small tents, often in deplorable conditions.
  • Habitat Kenya has worked with IDP in Maai Mahiu for more than two years and has helped resettle 235 families into durable, decent, three-room houses in new communities.
  • HFH Kenya has been working in Kenya since 1982 and has helped more than 5,000 families organized in more than 200 community groups to construct simple, decent and affordable homes.

Also on Oct. 3, volunteers will raise the walls on Habitat’s 500,001st house in Paterson, N.J.

  • The house will be built in one of the inner-city neighborhoods where Paterson Habitat for Humanity has been continuously building since 1984.
  • Paterson Habitat for Humanity has been partnering with low-income families to build simple, decent homes since it was founded in 1984.
  • The affiliate has built 225 houses in its 26-year history.

Construction of the house in Kenya is being made possible by a contribution from Paterson Habitat for Humanity as part of Habitat for Humanity’s annual tithe program to help build houses around the world.

  • Paterson Habitat for Humanity has maintained a global partnership with Habitat for Humanity Kenya since 1984, when Paterson Habitat dedicated its first yearly tithe to Kenya’s building efforts.
  • To date, Paterson Habitat for Humanity has contributed nearly $475,000 to Habitat Kenya, which helped provide affordable shelter in partnership with 450 families.

The milestone houses represent the steady increase in Habitat for Humanity’s scale and scope to help more families in need of decent, affordable housing.

  • In 2005, Habitat celebrated its 200,000th house.
  • Six years later, Habitat for Humanity has more than doubled that number through new, rehabilitated, repaired and improved homes.
  • In 2010, Habitat for Humanity served a record 74,960 families in need.
  • Thanks to Habitat for Humanity’s help, a family somewhere in the world improves its housing situation every 7 minutes of every hour of every day of the year.

Habitat for Humanity will engage in a month-long observance of the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter beginning on World Habitat Day, Oct. 3, 2011.

  • World Habitat Day begins a series of activities implemented by Habitat’s global network in more than 40 countries around the world, drawing attention to the importance of shelter in post-disaster settings.
  • World Habitat Day events conclude in Haiti with Habitat’s flagship event, the 2011 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. 

  • Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization that operates in nearly 80 countries, including all 50 states in the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families without regard to religion, race, gender or nationality by constructing, rehabilitating or repairing homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to financing to help families improve their shelter conditions.

To volunteer with the Crow Creek Indian Reservation affiliate contact:

Habitat for Humanity Dacotah Tipis  605-245-2450 or go to




HFH Dacotah Tipis Honors Patty Keoke

Patty Keoke
Board President
Habitat for Humanity
Dacotah Tipis
P.O. Box 487
Fort Thompson, SD 57339

Ask Patty Keoke of Chamberlain, South Dakota why she’s been a part of HFH Dacotah Tipis for nearly twenty years and she’ll tell you she believes that one of the most important things in life, especially for children is to have a decent affordable home to live in. She understands that a stable home enviroment directly affects a child’s ability to do well in school, and to grow up to become a productive member of the community. This is why she continues to be an important part of our ecumenical Christian non-profit organization.

As a result of that dedication and steadfast determination, Patty was nominated as this affiliate’s Supporter of the Year in 2005 at the Habitat for Humanity South Dakota Annual Recognition Banquet.  Patty was presented with a plaque at the event to show our appreciation of her commitment. Having served for many years as the Vice-President of the Board, as the chairperson of the family support committee, and a member of the family selection committee, Patty has shown by example what it means to get the job done. She’s a regular at the Board meetings, and has donated resources including her time, talents, and money to support the efforts of Dacotah Tipis.

  Although Patty has undergone radiation and chemo treatments for lung cancer, she has continued to help with fundraising for the organization by hosting silent auctions, dinners, lunch and rummage sales.  As is the duty of all Board members, Patty always speaks highly of Dacotah Tipis, promoting the Org to others and as a result, has enlisted several people from the area to become committee and Board members.

A Native-American originally from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, she has also lived on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation for 18 years.  Throughout the years, she has witnessed and lived the need for decent affordable housing on both reservations and has seen first hand how Dacotah Tipis has, and continues to meet that need today.  Patty says she will stay on the Board as long as she can serve the people of the Crow Creek Reservation. Growing up, Patty and her family of four brothers and six sisters lived in a two room house for many years because there was no housing available on the reservation.  Her lifelong dream was to own a home with more room.  She prays for the day when everyone can have a home of their own. She believes that working on the Dacotah Tipis Board will help a few other families on the Crow Creek Reservation get a home of their own. It’s that same enduring and contagious spirit that has allowed Dacotah Tipis to continue serving its community for nearly twenty years. In her spare time, Patty enjoys contributing to her favorite charities, most importantly to Dacotah Tipis. She currently serves as Board President, and the Chair of the family support committee for the affiliate, and is a strong advocate for the organization.

How did Dacotah Tipis begin?  In 1992, several citizens of the Crow Creek Indian Reservation including Patty Keoke, Sister Charles Palm, and Barbara Long Crow the first Executive Director, decided to respond to a critical need. The need was affordable housing in the area. Today the affiliate is one of hundreds of Habitat affiliates around the world, and one of 14 affiliates in South Dakota which focus on providing simple, decent, and affordable housing for low income families in need. By assisting the selected partner families with construction management, volunteer coordination, and fundraising, HFH Dacotah Tipis makes building their own home a reality for the family. The affiliate also makes it possible for the families to pay for the home by originating and servicing a mortgage to the family that contains no interest, no profit, and terms that fit the families budget. An absolute blessing indeed in this desperate community!

Dacotah Tipis receives support from private citizens just like you, who have decided that poverty housing should and can be eliminated, but that “give away” programs and government housing are not the answer to the problem. One or two people can make a difference in providing a family with a decent affordable home. Habitat for Humanity Dacotah Tipis is a perfect way to leverage small donations and the efforts of individual volunteers into large organized efforts. You may want to talk to your church, missions committee, or your company or organization and get involved. Supporting opportunities include serving on the Board of Directors, utilizing your skills or talents on one of several committees, volunteering to work on the construction of a family’s home, or donating monetarily to our program.

What’s the next step to getting involved in one of today’s most popular volunteer opportunities around?  Visit our website @ or call us directly @ 605-245-2450 today!

Krystal Langholz – Dacotah Tipis Welcomes a New Board Member

Ms. Langholz is the Executive Director of Hunkpati Investments Inc, a Community Development Financial Institution on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

While earning her MA in Anthropology and International Community Development from Colorado State University, she specialized in Lakota community development and micro-lending. During this time, Ms. Langholz also interned with the Lakota Funds, a CDFI on the
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Ms. Langholz serves on the advisory Board of the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA), and at the Northern Plains Initiative. Before her time at Colorado State University, she did her undergraduate degree at Luther College, a
liberal arts college in Decorah, Iowa, double majoring in religion and anthropology. Ms. Langholz has worked with and served many non-profits in various capacities, including Northeast Iowa Community Action, and the Camp Fire Boys and Girls Club.

Ms. Langholz first became involved in Habitat for Humanity in college, where she served for two years as the President for Luther College Habitat for Humanity. As part of role as president, Ms. Langholz served as a non-voting member on the Winneshiek County Habitat for Humanity affiliate Board. She has traveled as part of this board to Guatemala, taking part in a Habitat for Humanity International Global Village trip. Ms. Langholz has continued to stay involved in HFH, volunteering as part of builds in Ft. Collins, Colorado and many other places she has lived.

Ms. Langholz a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and currently lives in Pierre, SD with her husband and mini-golden doodle, “Tempy.” She is pleased to serve on the Habitat for Humanity Dacotah Tipis affiliate Board, hoping that she may make even a small impact on the Crow Creek Reservation housing crisis.


If you would like to get involved, check us out at

Want to volunteer in America?


Then join our mission.

More than 1 billion people worldwide live in poverty housing. Ninety-five million people in the United States have housing problems. Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to providing decent, affordable homes for those in need.

Volunteer opportunities

Habitat for Humanity Dacotah Tipis is looking for enthusiastic people to donate their expertise to various projects. The available opportunities will help you gain experience in a nonprofit setting. As a volunteer, you might:

  • Assist our volunteer construction crews and partner families on the home builds in progress.
  • Support various program operations.
  • Become a volunteer coordinator or crew leader (experienced volunteers)

If interested, we could use your help in South Dakota on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.
We have our work cut out for us and it’s a challenge, but with your help we will make it happen. We’ll provide decent, affordable homes for those in need. Ready to volunteer? Give us a call.

Contact Jim Huntley at 605-245-2450

Combine a Crow Creek Habitat Build with Pheasant Hunting


Why combine volunteering with hunting ?

Why? Because you’ll be in the Crow Creek area, only minutes away from the “Golden Triangle“.

South Dakota’s famous pheasant hunting doesn’t get any better than the area from Gregory to Winner to Chamberlain – the World Pheasant Capital’s famed “Golden Triangle”.

Hunting HotSpots: September 2010

The Golden Triangle boasts of the highest concentrations of ring-necked pheasants in the entire World. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department conducts an annual August roadside survey, calculating a pheasant count based on a per-mile index. The Chamberlain area annually boasts the highest counts in the state, checking in this year at 17 pheasants per mile and believe it or not, that’s the highest numbers since the ’60s. The Winner area this year delivered a count at 8.42 pheasants per mile, which is above the healthy statewide average of 6.45. Any way you slice it, there are millions of birds in South Dakota.

Just don’t forget… We could use some help at Dacotah Tipis Habitat for Humanity while you’re here for the hunt.

For more Information, contact Jim Huntley at 605-245-2450

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