Kaga: create started with the simple belief that when a story is shared, life is shared and when life is shared, people are united.
As I was conducting population health research in early 2013 I stumbled upon some health statistics that I had not seen before; I was in disbelief that such devastating statistics existed in America. I was completely drawn to learn more about Pine Ridge Reservation in order to try to figure out why the health conditions of its residents were so poor. This began my journey in learning about the Oglala Lakota. I read, researched and visited Pine Ridge in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how I could make a difference; the land drew me in, the people warmed my heart, and their stories touched my soul.
I realized that my life had provided me with knowledge and experiences which were to be used for a purpose that had nothing to do with me. I finally felt like I could answer the question – “how do I use my skills to bring hope and encouragement to others, to bridge cultural divides, to unite people, to make our world just a little bit better". The Lakota believe that children are our future, that all children are to be valued. This common core belief led me to develop a program to build upon the assets of the Pine Ridge Reservation while empowering their young people.
The act of being creative is an avenue to share a story. Art crosses all cultural barriers; a picture can move a person to smile, to cry, to act, to love. The Lakota youth have a story tell, just as they see it. I want you to see their story, to learn who they are, through their eyes. Kaga: create was formed through the coming together of people whose desire to make a difference in our world is a priority in their life. We collaborate, we participate, we invite. We provide the tools, we empower, we facilitate. We build partnerships. We break cultural barriers. We are kaga: create – uniting people through creativity.
-Dana Overman, Founder of kaga: create