Supporting Children, Students and Families of Oglala Sioux Lakota in South Dakota

It may be hard to believe that American children still live in such devastating conditions such as dirt floors, no electricity and often faulty plumbing. But in many places, these young lives are all around us. For these kids, it means the world to receive any amount of help that enriches their lives and their education.

Statistics show that the Oglala Lakota Tribe has a high infant mortality rate, low life expectancy, increased complications from diabetes, high rate of unemployment, poverty and suicide.

The beautiful smile of this young Oglala Lakota girl certainly gives us the inspiration to give her life a better and brighter future.

Celesia Marie

Celesia Marie Spirit Award

Thomas Gaiter Foundation started "The Celesia Marie Spirit Award" for the Pine Ridge High School students. The initial award was presented by Councilman Richard Greenwald of Oglala Sioux Lakota Tribe. 

The award is put forth as a token of inspiration for students who have faced hardships and struggled to overcome obstacles and have turned their life around in a positive way.

Denee and Troy from Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, South Dakota met with the Thomas Gaiter Foundation

Councilman Richard Greenwald of Oglala Sioux Lakota of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Female Recipient of the   Spirit Award

Male Recipient of the

Spirit Award

Thomas Gaiter Foundation established scholarships for Native American Indians to pursue their education.
Black Hills State University
Spear Fish, South Dakota

" I love to help others and I would like to help break the stigma surrounding mental health. A few years ago on my Reservation, there was a time when we had over 12 suicides in one week. That was a very sad time. They were all young people ranging from 4th grade to 11th grade. I feel like if there was a different view on mental health, they could have gotten the help they needed... even if I don't change the world after I graduate, I hope I can at least change the minds of my people. 

Thank you very much Thomas Gaiter Foundation for helping with my academic endeavors, some of the financial burdens has been lifted off my shoulders".   

-L. No Braid   2019

" Thank you so much for your generous contribution. I was thrilled to find out I was the recipient of your scholarship. I appreciate the gift and I will use it to achieve my goal of graduating and becoming a Music Educator on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Once again, thank you for your support."

-D. One Feather   2018

"I would like to thank Thomas Gaiter Foundation for the generous contribution to my education. I'm from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, so,  I'm a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, I feel a responsibility and an obligation to my ancestors and to my people to use my education to better the community. With your generous contribution, I'm able to do so. Once again, thank you very much."                            -C. Standing Bear   2017

"The Thomas Gaiter Foundation Scholarship has helped me get closer to my goal of becoming a teacher to help future generations in my community at the Reservation. Once again, thank you so much for your generous support.

​- E. Concha    2016

"I  would like to thank you for helping me pursue my education with a scholarship you have awarded me. I will use the funds to purchase my books and supplies which were needed and greatly appreciated."​

- B.G. Two Bulls    2015

Western Dakota Technical Institute
Rapid City, South Dakota

"From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you!!! I just called my daughter and informed her of the great news about the scholarship fund for WDT. She cried, we both cried together, good tears for once." 

- D. M.

“This scholarship has helped me buy supplies for my studies. Thank you for all your support and helping students."

-Sean

“I appreciate receiving scholarships to attend college. Without them, I would not be able to afford it on my own, thank you."

-Melanie

" I am very thankful for the opportunity to win a scholarship because it means I will need to borrow less in student loans. It allows me to concentrate more on classwork and studying."

- Paul