Wed Mar 22 14:33:49 2006 Pacific Time

(Updated and corrected Mar. 23, 2006) 

     German Rock Musician to Assist Native American Children


       RAPID CITY, S.D., March 22 (AScribe Newswire) -- Children on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation will be getting some help from an unlikely source in their effort to learn Lakota language and culture. German rock-and-roll superstar Peter Maffay will be in South Dakota March 27-30 to dedicate a new project called the Lakota Circle Village. The project is designed to help raise a new generation of Lakota-speaking children according to positive traditional values. Its first goal is to establish a Lakota language immersion school. Maffay has promised to help in its construction.

       Maffay is one of Germany's most popular musicians - selling over 35 million albums over the course of nearly forty years on the musical scene. Despite the strong influence of English-language music in Germany, he has made a name for himself as the leading German-language rocker. Given Maffay's history of support for local languages, it seems appropriate that he now be involved with the language preservation efforts of the Lakota.

       The project is an important element of Maffay's worldwide support of causes that promote cultural understanding and benefit children. Maffay is currently traveling to under-privileged communities across the world as part of developing a new cooperative album dedicated to them. The album titled, "Encounters II: An Alliance for Children," will be a collection of songs in the original language performed by musicians from each of the chosen communities with Maffay singing in duet. "We choose artists from hotspots around the world," explained Maffay. Proceeds from the album will go directly to a charitable cause dedicated to the children. "Encounters II is intended to take the world to the crisis spots, where the misery is the greatest and the children need our help." The album will bring together artists from around the globe, including: South Africa, India, Korea, China, Ukraine, Romania, Palestine, Afghanistan, South America, and now the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Like other activist rockers, Maffay combines his music with a universal message, "The album is a statement against racism and for respect. We want to prove co-existence," says Maffay.

       While in South Dakota, Maffay will take part in traditional Lakota activities and visit a number of important destinations. Maffay begins his tour of the area on Monday morning with a reception at the Prairie Edge Art Gallery in downtown Rapid City. He then visits sites in the Black Hills and travels to the Pine Ridge reservation where he will be treated to a traditional Lakota buffalo hunt and honored with a ceremony.

       Maffay is hosted by Leonard Little Finger, the founder of Circle Village project. "The whole intent of this effort is to create an opportunity for future generations of Lakota to be able to speak and understand their cultural heritage. We can only accomplish this in a setting where Lakota is taught and spoken - as it was in the past," says Little Finger, grandson of Wounded Knee Massacre survivors. He adds, "Our language was given to us by our Creator to maintain a sacred and spiritual connection with all that has been created." Little Finger stresses the urgency of the situation, "As Lakota, we are in a crucial period of time - with the passing so many fluent speakers, there is nothing in place to pass that fluency on to the next generations."

       The planned school will use traditional teaching philosophies as well as the latest Lakota language educational materials provided by the Lakota Language Consortium, a partner organization and award-winning developer of Lakota textbooks. "Our elders from all across the community will be an integral part of this school. Together with the parents, we will create a new future for our children," says Little Finger.

       The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lakota Circle Village will be held in Oglala, South Dakota on March 30, with entertainment provide by Kevin Locke and several local drum groups. The event is free and open to the public.

       On the Web:

       - - - -

       CONTACT: 812-340-3517, fax 812-857-4482,

       South Dakota contact: 605-867-5374