For nearly a quarter century, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) has been front and center in responding to a quiet crisis among our Nation’s Forgotten People, the Lakota (Sioux) on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. Founder David Myers literally began NAHA by delivering food & clothes in the back of a station wagon on weekends. From those humble beginnings, and through the commitment of NAHA’s faithful donors, staff, and affiliates, the most recent fiscal year saw over $52 million in direct aid (food, clothing, and basic life necessities).
These Reservations are on some of the most desolate and remote acreage in the country, remaining out of the sight and headlines of mainstream America. With desperation, hope is easily lost, and leads to statistics most people would say, “Can’t possibly be true in America.” But it is. Up to 80% unemployment, suicide rates 70% higher than the population at large, infant mortality exceeding many third world countries, diabetes and resultant death at twice the national rate…these and many more statistics are the bitter reality that face this proud group of people every day. Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Crow Creek, and Cheyenne River are not mythical names in some western novel. They are real places, with real people, who often live out tragic lives.
Like most nonprofits in recent years, NAHA has faced dwindling donations. Our donor base is shrinking, direct mail is less effective and telemarketing is an option NAHA feels is too intrusive. Nevertheless, the problems are just as urgent and ever-present and the Mission has not wavered. But it takes creativity to reach new donors and expand awareness.
So, in 2010, NAHA announced Rock Legends Cruise (a “cruise for a cause”) chartering an entire Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, and creating a historic rock festival at sea. With over 20 legendary artists and 4,000 of our closest friends, RLC has been sailing ever since, ably assisted by the onboard management team at Sea Planners Group. There are accommodations for all budgets, and payment plans if needed. After all, rock and roll is for everyone!
With performers like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Bad Company, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Peter Frampton, Gregg Allman and so many more, each cruise is a guaranteed blast, while raising awareness about NAHA’s Mission. Although the cruise has drawn adults of all ages, most are of an age that placed them at the beginning of the rock revolution and who appreciate our artists’ places as cultural icons.
Please join us in our Mission!