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Our Y's Global, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mission

The Mission of the YMCA Oceti Šakowiŋ

or translated to english, the YMCA Seven Council Fires 

Our mission is to develop and strengthen the children and families in our reservation communities so they can fulfill their greatest individual and collective potential, spiritually, mentally, and physically.

GDEI Statement

The YMCA Oceti Šakowiŋ is committed to providing programming and enrichment opportunities to every individual in our community that is cognizant and without exclusion regarding ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender identity, ideological background, income, national origin, race, or sexual orientation. We understand and empathize with the fact that our individual social locations offer unique perspectives as we continue to develop and implement inclusive and equitable programs. We accomplish this through the development of a robust Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, and staff team. We are committed to ensuring that our YMCA reflects not only the community we serve but those we seek to serve in the expansion of our services.

Why the Name Change?

Formerly known as the Sioux YMCA, our indigenous Board of Directors have changed our name to YMCA Oceti Sakowin, which in the Lakota language means Seven Council Fires. A task force of tribal members, Y staff and trustees recommended this change for the purpose of increasing our Y's DEI work. The old name "Sioux" is considered derogatory by the Lakota, meaning "snake" and originally used by early French fur trappers.

For more on our history click here


Organized the first Sioux Indian YMCA in 1879.


First Executive Director of the Sioux YMCA, 1894.

GDEI Work at your Organization

As the world continues to progress in a way to be more inclusive, we have seen an increase in requests to aid organizations with their cultural appropriation. If you would like help in this area, please click here. 

To learn more about cultural appropriation read this American Camp Association article: We Are Learning Together: Taking Steps Away from Native Cultural Appropriation

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and The Sioux YMCA's civil rights regulations and policies, the Sioux Y, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering Sioux Y programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by The Sioux Y (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Sioux Y through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information necessary. Submit your completed letter to the Sioux Y by: (1) mail: Sioux YMCA, 224 6th St PO Box 218, Dupree SD 57623; (2) email:

The Sioux YMCA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

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