~ Since 1992 ~

Our grassroots Native non-profit  has served the people of the tribal nations in South Dakota.

Reclaiming Lakota language, culture and spirituality by promoting education and healthy lifestyles for our youth through culturally based strategies.

Grand Circle Foundation through the Alan E Lewis Memorial Fund was proud to fund a Isnati Awica Lowanpi or “First Moon Ceremony”.

The ceremony is done for girls whom are on their first “moon” (menstrual cycle). It is conducted by the mother, grandmothers, and elderly grandmothers of the community.  Men never come near the ceremony and have no part of it.

During this four day ceremony time the girls create quill work (given to them by double woman) in preparation for the final days give away. The girls are then taught the roles and responsibilities of a Lakota women and how they are take on those roles and carries these teaching throughout their life. They are kept within a lodge this entire time outside of the lodge there are red sticks surrounding the ceremony area these are to protect the girls from wondering spirits whom are drawn to the immense power the girls have during that time. The girls are not allowed to touch themselves for any reason so they collect cherry stick to scratch, their mothers or sponsors feed them, clothe, and brush & braid their hair. This is meant as a passage into women as a symbol that this would be the last time they are cared for as children.

During the four days the girls have made numerous items from quill work that are then gathered on the fourth day to where they have a “coming out ceremony.” They are then presented to the tribe as women ceremony songs are sung, a giveaway is taken place with the items the girls have made as well as items collected by the families. These items are given to those whom have helped with the ceremony and participants of the final ceremony. The girls then feed the people and thank everyone for helping them.