Founded in 2007, the Mission of Morning Star Projects, a non-profit 501(c)(3), is to assist the 4,000 members of the Northern Cheyenne nation who live on 440,000 acres in the southeast corner of Montana. The Northern Cheyenne are a beautiful, spiritual tribe true to their traditional ways.
100 years of poverty have taken their toll on this community. Nearly 40% of Northern Cheyenne families live under the poverty level. Unemployment fluctuates from 60-85%, due to the remoteness of the reservation. Nearly half the population is under 20 and Life expectancy is 54 years of age.
Particular Issues to address- HEALTH- the issues of bad health and high incident of diabetes for the North Cheyenne Indians, are being decreased with programs that focus on local reservation health and eating information and classes, bringing in fresh fruits and vegetables, and a future project to install solar greenhouses to grow their own food sources in the future and learn about Solar to become self-sufficient.
The Northern Cheyenne Social Preservation reported that, "The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation population consists of roughly 4,500 people. The Tribe suffers from low life expectancy rates 17 years below the national rate, a health crisis in the making including a diabetes rate some 5x that of the national average, substandard education which does little to prevent the 23% 8th grade dropout rate, and a crumbling infrastructure. The statistics point to a grim fate for the Cheyenne culture."
The story of type II diabetes, a version of the disease that is contracted later in life, in Indian Country is not new. Prevalence of diabetes is highest among Native Americans with a rate of 15.9 percent, according to the American Diabetes Association. This is more than double that of whites.
Native Sun News Today reported that the life span among the Northern Cheyenne is 23 years less than the average American life span. "The average American life expectancy is 78, while the Northern Cheyenne's is potentially 55. The Tribe suffers from high unemployment (75%), high infant mortality rates (16.5 per 1000 births compared to the U.S. average of 6.8), life expectancy rates 17 years below national averages."
Our goals are to Unify, Educate and Nourish the families we serve. Currently serving over 2,000 members, our goal is to expand to empower the entire community.
Who was Morning Star? Often referred to as Dull Knife? Great Chief of the Northern Cheyenne? Click Here
Morning Star Projects has a collaborative team consisting of volunteers, social worker and educator tribal members, a project manager, a grant writer, and executive director (read more below).
Morning Star Projects is currently focused on six projects to assist this community to meet their basic physical needs.
Contact Us on how you can assist with these very important projects. You can be part of our programs success! With local coat and winter clothing drives and community events and fundraisers, you can be involved on any level! Start Today!
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Dr. Pam Blackwell, Ph.D., has a doctorate from the Southern California University for Professional Studies in psychology and has founded The Sacred Hoop Healing Center, which provides support services for Native Americans. Her non-profit corporation, Morning Star Projects, provides assistance to the Northern Cheyenne nation. She is also the Director of Western Sandplay Associates. She is an associate member of the Sandplay Therapists of America. She has authored theoretical and practical articles in Jungian psychology as well as Jungian sand play therapy in such journals as the International Journal of Play Therapy. Growing up in Colorado, Dr. Blackwell always felt a connection with the Native American people.
(Pam is pictured with Joseph FireCrow, friend, Cheyenne Flutist and Grammy award winning musician, who performed for Morning Star Projects at the opening ceremony for Sacred Hoop Healing Center at Sundance Resort in Utah.)