Click to download PDF of 2017 event flyer
On the first Saturday in December, Redbird hosts our annual Blanket, Toy and School
Supplies Drive and Mini-Powwow, which has been held for the last several years at the
Simi Valley Town Center Mall Community Room. New, lightweight, washable blankets
and new small to medium sized stuffed toys are sent to the White Plume family in
Manderson, South Dakota, for distribution to individuals and families on the Pine Ridge
Reservation. In this way, the blankets are given as gifts; not as charity from outsiders,
but coming in a good way from the hands of loved and respected tribal elders.
New boxed and hard toys and school supplies are given to Walking Shield, who has an
extensive distribution network and a long reputation of service to Native American
The drive is also a mini powwow. For a number of years we have been honored with the
presence of the respected and sought after northern drum Blue Star, whose traditional
Lakota songs come from the elders of the Porcupine District on Pine Ridge. In 2013 and
2014 we were also graced with the songs of the beloved southern drum Crooked Hat.
Cultural presenters often join us; Mike Watts, Dan Running Bear, Ken Marchionno, Alan
Salazar, Michael Reifel, Johnny Nieto and Joe Calderon have all shared their stories,
songs and knowledge with us. There is food, singing, dancing and laughter. Everyone is
welcome; dancers in regalia are welcome.
Blankets and toys are shipped by mail, and the cost is about $800.00, so donations for
shipping are also needed; please see the "get involved" page for donation options. The
need on the Pine Ridge and surrounding reservations is great, and Christmas is not the
only time people need to stay warm. We encourage others - groups and individuals - to
consider hosting similar gatherings in their own neighborhoods, and creating liaisons
with people in the native community who are able to assist with the distribution of items.
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