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Community Connections

Our “Standing on the Side of Love” Sunday service theme strives to embrace human differences and will reach out to community partners to learn more about how better to celebrate, support and welcome all.

PROJECT GUIDE:

A map, a sign, a compass – all are instruments that tell us where we are and guide us to where we want to go. Project GUIDE seeks to be an instrument for the American Indian population in the Bismarck-Mandan area to tell us where we are and where we want to go.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT?

The goal of the project is to use comprehensive data to help develop community partnerships which provide opportunities for the Bismarck-Mandan off-reservation American Indian population to become cohesive and fully integrated through civic participation, community activism, and social reflection.

WHAT IS PROJECT GUIDE GOING TO DO?

GUIDE stands for Gathering Urban Indian Data & Experiences. The project has two primary tasks that will help to reach the overall goal. One of the tasks is to create and administer a survey in the American Indian community in Bismarck-Mandan. The second task is to utilize the survey data to develop programs, make connections, identify needed services, access grants, or create partnerships in the Bismarck-Mandan community for the American Indian population.

WHY IS PROJECT GUIDE IMPORTANT?

Although the Bismarck-Mandan off-reservation American Indian (“urban Indian”) population is significant, the population continues to be segregated in most meaningful ways as reflected in community socio-economic statistics and perceptions. Project GUIDE hopes to use the data and research to develop connections and partnerships critical to jobs, housing, recreation, economic development, leadership, youth programs, education, and other areas.

WHO IS CONDUCTING PROJECT GUIDE?

The project is not being conducted by any organization, but by an individual. My name is Cheryl Kary (Hunkuotawin). I was awarded a Bush Foundation fellowship which will fund the work of the project. A Bush Foundation fellowship is designed to help individuals develop leadership skills while conducting a community development project. I am an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and have lived in the Bismarck-Mandan community for many years. I applied for the fellowship and elected to do this project because I believe that, as Native people living off of our reservations, we are often a forgotten population. Yet we have specific needs, including the need to be a part of a common Tribal community. I hope this project will allow the

diverse American Indian population of the Bismarck-Mandan area to come together to develop a community vision for our own unique population.

WHAT DOES PROJECT GUIDE HAVE TO DO WITH ME?

As a member of the Bismarck-Mandan American Indian community, your input is critical to the development of a “community profile”. A community profile is a positive, asset-based glimpse of who we are as a population. The profile can be used to tell us where we are as a community and will also tell us where we want to go. It can give us direction as to our strengths, weaknesses, assets, and needs. We will no longer need to guess as to what our needs are, we will know and we will be able to use the data to do something about it.

WHAT WILL PROJECT GUIDE ACTUALLY DO FOR ME?

The data gathered from Project GUIDE can be used for a variety of purposes. After the survey is developed and conducted, the raw data will be kept in a secure computer with accompanying statistical software. The software will allow anyone to run specific data analysis to answer (most) specific questions about the American Indian population in the Bismarck-Mandan area. This information can be used to justify the development of new programs or services, to write grants for other individual projects, to lobby for additional funding or services in certain areas, or to help individuals start projects in which they may be interested. The long-term goal is to develop an on-going databank that will help American Indians become more cohesive in the community.

HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED?

Project GUIDE will hold meetings every other month to keep the community updated on the project, get input and feedback from the American Indian community, and to develop the research tool (survey) that will eventually be used to gather data. You can be directly involved by coming to the meetings regularly and providing input. Or you can be indirectly involved by coming to occasional meetings and helping pass the word about the importance of the project. Project GUIDE will use a sound research process that can also give young volunteers strong community-development experiences which are helpful job skills. Eventually, the goal of the project is to have a significant number of families and individuals participate in the survey; so important involvement could be as simple as taking the survey when the time comes! J It is all up to you as to how involved you would like to become.

For more information, or if you have suggestions or ideas for the project, please contact me (Cheryl Kary) at 701.426.1315. I welcome your questions, input, and ideas!

PIDAMAYA!

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