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February 11, 2018 10:04 PM

Continuing A Decades Long Tradition

Since the 1970's, a small part of Sisseton has been making a big difference for community members...until a couple years ago. 

The Warcloud Drop-In Center provided meals and a warm place to be for the community before it was shut down. Now one Sisseton tribal member is making it her priority to get it open again. 

In the small community of Sisseton sits a building waiting to carry on years and years of tradition. 

What's known today as "The Kitchen" used to be called the Warcloud Drop-In Center which was created for Paul and Marcella Warcloud. 

"He had a vision to help the people, feed the people. They had actually started from their home," said Warcloud's Niece Dawn Ryan. 

The pair would cook for not just the homeless, but for anyone looking for a hot meal. 

"The community people would just kind of knew, if they were hungry to go over there," said Ryan. 

Paul got sick and passed away in 1973 but his legacy continued when Rollin and Barbara Ryan took over. 

"As growing up that was where you know you could go eat. There's nothing wrong, you get to see friends, go play. Families get to go visit and talk amongst themselves," said Community Member Drago Lufkins. 

The drop-in center was going well, until Rollin died in 1987. Since then the center has moved buildings three times, management has shifted, then it shutdown all together.
"What you see here is as far as we've been able to come," said Dawn Ryan. 

Now, Dawn Ryan the niece of Warcloud and daughter of Ryan, is trying to get the center going again. 

"We recently got the building back, back to our family and I put some thought into re-opening it and started renovating it," said Ryan. 

"It's a good thing to see one of our tribal members re-establish the drop-in and contributing in a very humanitarian way," said Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Chairman Dave Flute. 

However, to fully re-establish, it's going to take time. 

"The biggest thing is finances. It cost money to do all of this. I did start a GoFundMe page and I've been using my own money and family's been helping with their time and materials but that only goes so far," said Ryan. 

Ryan says she's reached out to the tribe for additional support. 

"Members of council, myself, executives, we are aware that Ms. Ryan is looking to re-establish the drop-in center and we'll do anything that we can and provide whatever resources we can to help her make that successful," said Flute. 

The center also needs a lot of TLC. The floors need work, appliances are needed for the kitchen and working bathroom is a must. 

After talking with all three, they agree that getting the drop-in center back up and running would benefit the community, especially the homeless. 

"It's needed, I'm not going to lie. There are people out there that find it very hard to look for that support," said Lufkins. 

"Culturally that's one of our core values is to have compassion and to take care of those who can't take care of themselves," said Flute. 

Until then, members of the community can only reflect on the good memories the drop-in center has.

"You got to see people that are struggling just as you. See old friends," said Lufkins. 

Drago Lufkins says the center has given him more than just a meal. 

"It gives you more of a chance to look at life a little bit better than when you're down and when you're hungry," said Lufkins. 

A goal Ryan wants to achieve again. 

"If we're able to make life a little bit easier then by not having to worry about at least having one meal a day, then our goal would be accomplished," said Ryan. 

If you want to donate to help get the drop-in center fully functioning again, you can donate on the GoFundMe page

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