Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Lakota Omniciye continues holiday gift exchange tradition

Rylan Bruns
Presents wrapped for Lakota Omniciye gift exchange.

Lakota Omniciye, a Black Hills State University (BHSU) student the organization is holding its annual Cultural Holiday Exchange
program. In the E.Y. Berry Library and Jonas academic building, angel trees were set up and wish ornaments were decorated on the tree. Donations of school supplies, money and other gifts were accepted to help fulfill each child’s wish.

“This exchange has been going on for 15-plus years,” said Rosie Sprague, an instructor of American Indian Studies.

The holiday exchange started as a school project by two students in one of Professor Emeritus Jace Decory’s classes. The two students gathered toys and other gifts for the students of Red Shirt School in Hermosa, S.D. Decory loved the project so much that she continued the tradition of the holiday exchange.

The process starts by contacting the school and asking for the number of students in each class. The school then provides Lakota Omniciye advisers the lists of toys and school supplies that its students want. Once the list is finalized Lakota Omniciye members make posters, fliers and angels for the Christmas trees for donations to be accepted. The only requirement for gifts is that the items be new.

“This year we picked a different school to try and expand our involvement,” Sprague said.

This is the first year since the holiday exchange started that Lakota Omniciye has chosen a different school. The school they chose this year is the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy (OSCA). OSCA is the first indigenously school in Rapid City.

Its mission is to provide an inclusive and diverse education that centers on rigorous culturally relevant instruction in a Lakota community-centered framework. OSCA currently teaches kindergarten and first grade. Not only has Lakota Omniciye chosen a
different school this year but they have also added a ‘Teacher Wish’ as well. This means that the educators can also wish for something as well and be able to share in the gift receiving moment with their students.

“This is something that we can do for a group of children and see how excited they get,” Sprague said.

Once Lakota Omniciye collects all the gifts, the organization has a gift-wrapping night. This year the gift-wrapping night was held
on Dec. 4 in Jonas 101. The night saw Lakota Omniciye members wrap each gift for the students. The Lakota Omniciye members
will travel to Rapid City to give the students their gifts on Dec. 6. After giving the gifts, there will be a small holiday party for
the students and Lakota Omniciye members to bond and have a good time together.

“It feels good to feel generous,” said Alberta Miner, a professional adviser for the Center for American Indian Studies (CAIS).
“To give back and help others makes me happy.”

Miner is an alumna of BHSU and also experienced the holiday exchange when she was a student. Her favorite part was delivering the gifts to the children because she loved to see the smiles on their faces. She also knows it’s a time for them to feel special and happy.

Not only is the holiday exchange a time to bring people together but it allows BHSU students to volunteer their time for others. CAIS wants faculty, students and community members to know that they too can be a part of this event. It’s not just for BHSU students or Lakota Omniciye members, it’s for everyone.

CAIS hopes that since they chose a different school this year that in the future it can choose a new school every year. It would
expand BHSU’s involvement with the native communities within the region, but also expand the interactions of native college students with young native students.

“It’s sweet to see the young kids see native students in college,” said Wicah’pe T’o Win, a BHSU student.

Lakota Omniciye members enjoy giving back to their native communities. It’s an opportunity to show the younger generation
that they too can go to college and do amazing things in life with hard work.

“It’s really great to continue this tradition and I hope that Jace is really proud of us,” Sprague said.

About the Contributor
Sapphire Tiger, Senior Staff Writer