A nonprofit organization

9 donors

Bagosendaan integrates talking circles, horses, and community resources to motivate youth to stay in school and remain chemically free.

The youth in the White Earth Tribal Community struggle with overwhelming challenges everyday. Cultural conflicts, alcohol and drug abuse, and truancy are daily occurrences. These hardships often leave children frustrated, confused, and angry and addressing these issues can be difficult. One program that has been successful in accomplishing change is our program, Bagosendaan. Bagosendaan’s objective is to help older children and teens to become successful adults by promoting learning and emotional growth and providing mentors. 

Fourteen year old Dawn (not her real name) was missing horseback rides. During talking circles when she came, she was defensive and argumentative. She claimed that she didn’t want to stay in the program, she only came because she was expected to, program staff were mean. Despite these claims she continued to attend.

We reached out to Dawn and encouraged her to share her life situation. Eventually, Dawn confided to one of the staff that her mom had been jailed and she was currently trying to maintain responsibility for her younger siblings. She believed that if she could keep community service workers in the dark her mom would return home and she could keep her family together. She was encouraged in this belief by other adult family members and her mom!  

The situation was immediately reported to ICW by Bagosendaan staff. Dawn and her siblings were placed with responsible relatives. Our program helped address the situation with Talking Circles involving family members, community advocates, and program staff and participants. One of the grandparents of another girl in our program, Maria, was able to provide a home for Dawn.  Dawn’s attitude changed quickly. The girls supported her in building her awareness that the expectations placed on her by her mom were unsafe and unrealistic. Dawn had been active in advocating for her placement with Maria and this is a much safer supportive home. Since this experience a few of our participants have helped their school staff identify other youth who are in similar but less extreme situations. The girls have discovered that sometimes community services may actually be helpful. 

The girls learn that smart choices are required to be members of our program. They see that these choices are practiced by adult mentors as well as other youth in the program. Building self-esteem and confidence by trail riding, participating in parades, county fairs, and competitions, and sharing our accomplishments with other community youth as leaders allow our participants to view themselves as competent. The local community also recognizes this competency and often provides the girls with recognition in the form of school presentations and newspaper coverage and positive feedback at their fair and demonstration performances. This recognition further advances the participant’s ability to build positive identities. Opportunities for leadership and mentoring with new members also increase this sense of self-esteem.

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BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving




2476 230TH ST