top of page
Camp Group Pic.jpg

Welcome to Our Y

The Mission of 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.

About us

The YMCA Seven Council Fires is a small organization with many responsibilities and programs throughout the communities on and near the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. By working with community members, rather than for them, we establish sustainable programs and change. We empower. Focusing on engaging academic, athletic, and artistic programming, the Y serves the youth of the reservation on site, in the Tribal schools, in the communities, and through YMCA Camp Marrowbone. 

A Brief (Very Brief) History

In 1862 the Dakota People, tired of semi-starvation and poverty, took part in a war meant to push white settlers out of their lands in Minnesota. At the end of the brief, ill-fated war, 160 Dakota warriors were captured and sentenced to hang.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln commuted the sentence of 120 of the younger men. However, 38 there warriors were hung from a single scaffold in Mankato, Minnesota, making it the largest mass execution in US history. These remaining Native men whose sentences had been commuted, languished in a military prison. Volunteers from the Young Men's Christian Association visited them, bring clothing, bedding, English language lessons, and Christianity. The Dakota men were so impressed with the compassion of these YMCA volunteers, that upon their release in 1879, some of them, including Chief Little Crow's son, Thomas Wakeman, started the Koskada Okadiciye, a Young Man's Association. 

In 1885, the association was recognized by the national YMCA movement and changed their name to Sioux Young Men's Christian Association. Their goal then, as it still is today, was to teach and encourage the Lakota values of Wawokiye, Woksape, Ohitika, and Wa o'hola (Generosity, Wisdom, Bravery, and Respect) as well as the Y values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.

Change and growth have continued throughout the years. In 1970, the Sioux YMCAs voted to become a family association and in 1971 a summer residential camp, YMCA Camp Marrowbone was started. 


Organized the first Sioux Indian YMCA in 1879.


First Executive Director of the Sioux YMCA, 1894.

The Work Today

Today, the General Convention of Sioux YMCAs, with a Lakota Board of Directors and supported by a dedicated Board of Trustees, operates youth, recreational and camping programs that serve tough and families spread out among the isolated communities of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation, which is over 5,000 square miles. 

Camp Waterfront Pic.jpg

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.

bottom of page