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Mni Nakicijipi: Water Defenders

Water Defenders is a program dedicated to protecting water sources within Lakota territories. In addition to advocacy and awareness efforts, we prioritize empowering Lakota youth in environmental stewardship. Through educational resources and hands-on programs, we aim to cultivate a strong sense of responsibility and connection to the land among young members of the Lakota community. Our mission is to not only defend water but also to nurture the next generation of Lakota leaders dedicated to safeguarding their natural resources.

Mni Nakicijipi is an innovative new program dedicated to environmental stewardship and water protection within Lakota territories.


Stay tuned for upcoming dates and further details on waterways cleanups

Our plan within Mni Nakicijipi revolves around a multifaceted approach to water protection and environmental conservation within Lakota territories. Initially, we're focusing on comprehensive water quality assessments to identify areas in need of urgent attention. Concurrently, we're organizing community clean-up events, engaging volunteers to actively participate in restoring and preserving our waterways.


Mni Nakicijipi empowers Lakota youth by involving them in hands-on environmental projects, fostering leadership skills and a deeper connection to their cultural heritage. Through participation in clean-up events and educational workshops, young participants gain practical experience and a sense of responsibility toward protecting their sacred water sources, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.


Mni Nakicijipi is crucial for environmental health as it addresses pollution threats and advocates for sustainable practices, safeguarding delicate ecosystems and the diverse array of microorganisms, fish, and other aquatic life that rely on clean water for survival. By preserving water quality, the program directly impacts people's health, ensuring access to clean drinking water and reducing the risk of waterborne illnesses. Furthermore, by promoting holistic stewardship of water resources, Mni Nakicijipi contributes to the overall health and balance of ecosystems, benefiting not only aquatic life but also the interconnected web of life, including macroinvertebrates, whose health is vital for ecosystem resilience.


macroinvertebrates are small aquatic animals and the aquatic larval stages of insects. They include dragonfly and stonefly larvae, snails, worms, and beetles.

We're teaming up with local water authorities and mobilizing volunteers to tackle illegal dumping sites. Through community-led clean-up efforts, we're restoring the health of affected waterways and promoting environmental stewardship. Together, we're making a difference in safeguarding our precious water sources and preserving our ecosystems.

Our project extends across Todd, Gregory, and Tripp counties in South Dakota, uniting communities to tackle environmental issues. Together, we're cleaning up waterways and promoting a healthier, more sustainable future for all.
Access to clean water enhances the joy and excitement of outdoor activities and leisure pursuits.
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