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Lakota Country Times: Miss Lakota Nation celebrates youth

Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses serves as Miss Oglala Lakota Nation. Photo from Facebook

Miss Oglala Lakota Nation
Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses ‘Celebrates Life’ on the Rez
By Tara Pretends Eagle Weber

Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses was crowned Miss Oglala Lakota Nation 2015-2016 at the 30th Annual Oglala Lakota Nation Wacipi (Pow Wow), Rodeo and Fair.

Her crown platform is “Celebrate Life.” Through that platform she endeavors to reach out to youth in response to the hardships they face on the Pine Ridge Reservation—particularly the epidemic of youth suicide.

Santana recently has started with the help of her community in Oglala, friends and family, as well as the Wana Wanhi (I Am Here) Youth Activities Committee. They meet every week to plan activities to build the community in a positive way. They are dedicated to giving the youth a voice so they can be a part of rebuilding their own future and cultivating the gifts that Lakota youth have innately. The group also held a Zombie Walk scheduled for Halloween night.

Santana feels very honored to hold the title of Miss Oglala Lakota Nation 2015-2016. She knows the crown gives her a responsibility to carry herself in an honorable way. She is aware that she is now an example to the younger ladies in her community and a public role model.

Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses visits the Lakota language class at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Facebook

Santana speaks of her new role as Miss Oglala Lakota: “When I decided to go out for Miss Oglala Lakota Nation 2015-2016, I was horrifyingly nervous! I have always been the quiet girl in school, never wanted to speak in front of people, and liked my own comfortable bubble."

"But as I sat there in my bubble, I would notice the youth hurting and even leaving this world. It makes me sad; I lost an aunty this way. I knew deep down that I want to dedicate my reign to the youth," Santana said. "I want to set a good example in many ways; right now I am in school and hoping to get more young people further their education.”

Presently, Santana is attending Oglala Lakota College, studying for her Tribal Law degree, and serves as President of the Oglala Lakota College Center in Oglala, SD. She plans to attend law school after she completes her degree.

Getting a college education and the college experience has motivated Santana to come up with more ideas on how to help the youth.

Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses with Jr. Miss Oglala Lakota Nation Courtney Little Hoop. Photo from Facebook

“As President of my college center in Oglala, I want to start a Big Brother/Sister program, not only at my school but reservation wide. I know it will take a tremendous amount of work but I have the motivation and the support of the Lakota people to make this happen for the youth," Santana said.

One of Santana’s first public appearances was her participation in the ‘March Against Violence,’ which brought awareness about the store owners in White Clay Nebraska that were abusing the homeless, Native Americans in the town. She walked with the OST Vice President, Tom Poor Bear as well as many concerned Lakota activists and tribal members. Santana was greeted with hugs and tears by an elder who among others was glad to see the royalty at such an important community gathering.

Then, Santana attended the Oglala Lakota Tribe & the US Dept. of Homeland Security-FEMA Signing Ceremony where she welcomed the group to her reservation. Also in attendance was Jr. Miss Oglala Lakota Nation, Courtney Little Hoop. 

Oglala Sioux Tribe President, John Yellow Bird Steele said he was that the royalty were present and they were the tribe’s new young Ambassadors. Santana was also one of ten Oglala Lakota College students who met with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack of the United States Department of Agriculture and discussed with him about increasing the self-sustainability on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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Santana also visited the Lakota language class at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Together on the floor, the children worked with Santana on a Lakota word puzzle as she is also studying Lakota in school.

Waniya Locke, the Lakota language teacher from Standing Rock, says she "invited Miss Oglala Lakota Nation into my classroom to show my students that outside my classroom, people really do care about our language. She encouraged them to continue to speak and grow in the Lakota Language."

Miss Oglala Lakota Nation got to witness first hand, Oglala children speaking their own language on their own lands without fear," Locke said. "Red Cloud Indian School is the only through all of Lakota Country to have k-12th grade language program. We are also the only school to make real steps putting for the efforts of Language Use in the hallways and mainstream classroom."

Santana’s Lakota name is When She Speaks They Listen and her English name is Santana Jayde Young Man Afraid of His Horses. She was born to Wendell Young Man Afraid of His Horses Jr. and Davidica Little Spotted Horse at the Rapid City Hospital on October 30, 1992. Her maternal grandparents are Jean Belt and David Little Spotted Horse and her paternal grandparents are Lenora and Wendell Young Man Afraid of his Horses Sr.

Santana Young Man Afraid of His Horses. Photo from Facebook

Santana’s three sisters, Davidica, Mercedes & Darien and brother, Lane and parents are her rock and they inspire her to be a better person.

Santana explains, “When I think about my family, I want to make them proud of me. I also think about my sister in the spirit world. I want to make her proud and do well in her honor. I know her and my grandmother, Lenora Young Man, are with me and that gives me the best kind of motivation."

Prior to college, Santana attended high school at Oelrichs Public School and graduated in 2012. She played basketball and volleyball and participated in band from 5th grade through 12th grade. She knew at a very young age what she wanted to do and be.

“When I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to help people and even animals. I have a passion to give my help to whoever needs it and try to make anything better, to be a part of a positive place for my people," Santana said. "I knew I did not want to be a doctor because I have the tendency to faint at the sight of blood which is not what anyone would want in their doctor."

"So, when I was a junior in high school, I got selected to go to ‘Girls State’ a program that teaches the youth about the way the state is ran and about politics," Santana said. "When I was in the program I knew I wanted to learn more but in a different field. I wanted to be a lawyer. Now, here I am about to graduate in 2016 and I could not be happier as to where my life is headed!"

Connect with Santana through her Miss Oglala Lakota Nation’s Facebook, which last week had over 102,000 people reached and 63,000 views of the picture of Santana with Jr. Miss Oglala Lakota Nation Courtney Little Hoop.

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