*Lakota for “Fatherhood” (pronounced “Ah-tey-ah-pee”)


The Ateyapi program is offered to students grades 4th through 12th in the Rapid City Area Schools system. It is a mentoring program led by American Indian mentors who are drug and alcohol free, and knowledgeable about Lakota culture.

Ateyapi programs are offered in three high schools, five middle schools and five elementary schools in Rapid City.


  • develop and maintain a positive lifestyle, especially through practicing positive culture values, including regular exercise, healthy eating and avoiding risky behaviors;

  • success in school and in the world through developing necessary skills and habits;

  • give back to the community and their families, especially to promote family self-sufficiency.


  • provide services year-round

  • at least one mentor per school

  • healthy snacks and meals provided

  • physical activity is a part of every program

  • provides teacher assistance and mentoring in the classroom

  • after school program and summer programming including curriculum, cultural activities, field trips and community outreach. 



“Rural America Initiatives, through its Ateyapi program, is vital to the positive mentorship of American Indian youth in Rapid City. It provides a much needed cultural infusion into the lives of students in a system that is lacking in Lakota cultural competency.

The Ateyapi program provided a sanctuary for me during high school; a time to connect with other Indian students and positive mentors. For that I am truly grateful.”  

Tatewin Means, Former Attorney General, Oglala Sioux Tribe