Monday

Iron Lightning tells her story in a new short documentary called Lakota in America, which shines a light on the Cheyenne River Reservation's youth and those working to help them.

The 15-minute video was produced by Even/Odd Films and commissioned by mobile payments company Square as the latest installment of its "For Every Kind of Dream" series, which first launched at the beginning of the year.

The new film was released to the public on Monday in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, known in South Dakota as Native American Day.

Lakota in America follows Iron Lightning as she interns at Eagle Butte's only coffee shop through the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP), a grassroots organization that helps lead young people toward a more secure future.

"The internships help you prepare for life after high school," she says in the film. "I am definitely going to go to college, and I will come back and help my community in any way I can. Because it's a struggle here. But it's my home."

She describes how Eagle Butte's houses are in disarray, trash fills the yards, "broken and busted cars" sit in the driveways.

Parents don't really take care of their kids unless they have a job and a sense of economic stability.


South Dakota is one of four states that recognizes Native American Day statewide. Burke says Square felt it was meaningful to release the film on a day that celebrates and promotes Native American culture, while commemorating the history of the Indigenous people of North America.
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