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From Father Emmett Hoffmann
From Soaring Eagle Signals newsletter, Summer 2002
Dear Benefactors and Friends,
We have some exciting and wonderful news! On Labor Day weekend, August 31, 2002, the Heritage Living Center will be dedicated. What seemed like an unobtainable goal five years ago has been accomplished with your help and for that I am so very grateful. The Heritage Living Center is the final fulfillment of the vow I made before God 48 years ago; to educate Cheyenne children, to develop industry on the reservation, and to improve the standard of living of the Northern Cheyenne people.
On August 18, 1997, Soaring Eagle took its first wobbly step toward building the Heritage Living Center for Cheyenne elders. Our first letter to potential donors was successful, although only 436 responded for a net loss of $447. It took faith to move forward. Now, five years later, 33% or 104 of those original donors still contribute and they are among are most loyal friends. Some have passed away, a number have found other charities to support, but our charter members have contributed $225,923. They are the solid foundation on which we are building our hope for the future.
Dedication Day [see photos] will be a time of remembrance as we honor the old chiefs who were concerned about the plight of the elders to come. They worried about the elders they feared would be placed in nursing homes before their time, institutions over one hundred miles from family and friends. They longed for a "home" nearby, where family members could easily visit - a caring, safe place where they could look out the window and see their homelands, speak their native language and enjoy life.
You are cordially invited to attend the Heritage Living Center Dedication Ceremony, enjoy an Indian feast, the dedication, and the Ashland Labor Day Powwow. It will be a day of celebration for the elders already moved into their new home and for those who are moving in during the weeks ahead. The Northern Cheyenne elders want you to come and see the "home" your donations have made possible. We want to honor and thank you, our generous and loyal friends.
During the dedication, we will focus on thanking "Maheo" our Creator God, for all His gifs, beginning with Mother Earth and all that she provides in the beautiful Big Sky Country of Montana; especially the mountains, valleys and streams, the animals and plants that have helped us through the seasons of life's journey. Holy men of the tribe will ask "Maheo" to bless the Heritage Living Center. They will ask Him to bless you, our dear friends, for all your suggestions and your generous help.
Soon after the dedication, a commemorative video showing the groundbreaking, building construction progress, the dedication ceremony and a tour of the Heritage Living Center will be made available. If you cannot attend the dedication ceremony, you will still be able to enjoy the activities and a grand tour of the building.
We look forward to meeting benefactors and friends. For your convenience, we have included a tour schedule with travel accommodations and tour highlights. If you cannot attend the dedication you are always welcome to visit the Heritage Living Center when your travels bring you to Eastern Montana.
Your beggar friend,