Bismarck News

Breaking Down Cultural Barriers in North Dakota Communities

To destroy the cultural divide in North Dakota, and across the country... that's the goal of two North Dakotans working together.

Emily Medalen tells us how an unexpected friendship and a shared dream are already bringing change to our state.
When Jim Kambeitz and Kendrick Eagle got to know each other, they realized they were both passionate about bringing together all of the cultures that exist in our state.
Now, they're dedicated to making a change.
Kendrick Eagle, Native American Activist) "Being native American, I felt like it was divided between non native and native."

Kendrick Eagle and his 4 brothers grew up in Standing Rock, and he says leaving the reservation wasn't always a good experience. 

"I wasn't comfortable. I was boxed in," says Kendrick Eagle, Native American Activist.

It left him feeling the need to compensate around the majority of other people he met.

"Every time I interact with someone that's not native, I always try to make my best impression to make them think we're not all bad people - or whatever they think of us," says Eagle.

When he and Jim Kambeitz met and became friends, they made a plan to work for change.

"Our demographics have shifted so much in the past few years - since the oil boom, and, we've had native cultures and non native cultures that really haven't integrated and really don't understand each other nearly as well as we could," says Jim Kambeitz, ND Filmmaker.

The two have been working together on projects to integrate cultures and help us all understand each other - 
and they have many people in their corner... including an unexpected one.

Eagle met Barack Obama when he came to Cannonball last year, and they are still in communication every now and then.
Eagle and Kambeitz are now working on many projects - including camping trips on reservations for native and non-native youth, as well as film workshops to give them experience with technology.
Kendrick says bringing non-natives to the reservation will help young people accept each other from the start.

"If people know how growing up on a reservation is, then they'll understand why we're so boxed in, so shy. It's because there aren't enough opportunities down there. To get them connected, to create a better community for them, I think that would help them in the future," says Eagle.

And they say they're just getting started.

With the help of the Sacred Heart Resource Center, Eagle was able to get a $10,000 Dreamstarter Grant.
That money will go directly to help bring non-natives to reservations for camps and workshops... and much more.

Below you'll find a few links that you can click on if you'll find more information, and ways you can donate to the cause.

Details about the August Dreamstarter project will be available later this summer at the Sacred Pipe Resource Center's website:



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