Without fail, every summer Lakin Little Eagle dedicates four days to attending the sacred Sundance ceremony of his relatives on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation. This is no small feat for a 10-year-old who is paralyzed from the waist down and dependent on his wheelchair to get places. It’s a true testament to his spirit: a boy with a big heart and strong mind who wants to remain connected to his people and his culture and doesn’t let his handicap stand in his way.
Lakin was tragically disabled as a 2-year-old when a drunk driver struck his family’s car. Until now, his father Catlyn and family has been getting by and able to care for Lakin’s needs. Now, however, they need your help. A bureaucratic error within the Vital Records department of the federal government stopped Lakin’s disability check in August of 2014. The error was caused by a legal name change. This has made it hard for Catlyn to pay the bills.
On top of that, Lakin recently went through a growth spurt making his current wheelchair too small. Because his legs are now constricted, there is a constant rubbing on his leg leaving a sore that won’t heal. Medicare has denied their claim to replace the chair, since they are only eligible for a replacement every five years and his current chair is only two years old.
Lakin’s wheelchair is his only means of being mobile. He needs it to go to school, to gatherings and to have the chance to just be a normal kid. Lakin calls his chair “Zippy.” When he visited his grandmother this week, they couldn’t allow him to get into Zippy because it aggravates his sore. Lakin sat in the chair, sighing and asking, “Grandma, when can I get back in my chair?”
At the Sundance each year, the dancers pray for the people and the people support the dancers. Every year, Lakin is there from sun up until sun down, in the heat of the long summer days to support the dancers and to be part of the ceremony.
Part of the Lakota value system is to be generous and always help someone in need. By doing so, we represent the true meaning of Mitakuye Oyasin (we are all related) and we know that by helping and healing another, we are also helping and healing our families and ourselves. To not forget these teachings is the mission of the Mita Oyate Cultural Society , knowing our ancestors would be proud of us to help all of those facing hard times.
Today, we stand together and ask for all people to give Lakin Little Eagle a way to fly again. Mitakuye Oyasin.
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