Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is getting a new playground for free to place on the reservation as part of a series of projects made possible by the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
"It's going to be a pretty good-sized playground," said Tony Woods of KHEW radio and one of the organizers of the playground.
The playground equipment was given to Rocky Boy by the NFL franchise's foundation.
KHEW and the Tribal Water Resources Department are going to supply volunteers to erect the playground. Woods said they are going to start work Friday and work through the weekend.
"We've laid some of the foundation and the footings for the equipment," Woods said.
The playground will be located in Middle Dryfork Village because of its central location in the reservation. Tribal officials decided this would be the best location for everyone to be able to use it, Woods said.
Playworld Systems, a Pennsylvania-based company, is providing the equipment and will send representatives to help the volunteers set the playground up correctly.
"This is all made possible by the generous support of the Original Americans Foundation," Woods said. "We're very thankful for that."
Woods added that this is the first phase of a series of projects that will be done around the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
The playground, when completed, will not be lit at night so will be open from dawn until dusk to avoid any accidents or liability issues with children playing there at night.
Woods said the playground will be open to all kids - not just kids at Middle Dryfork Village.
The Original Americans Foundation is also sponsoring a 3-on-3 basketball competition July 31 that will start at the Stone Child parking lot. The foundation is also sponsoring this year's All Nation Ultimate Warrior Competition Aug. 1.
Dustin White of the Tribal Water Resources Department said that OAF visited Rocky Boy in January and tribal members filled out a survey meant to assess needs on the reservation. Rocky Boy was one of 27 reservation visited by the foundation across the country.
The need for community development along with raising health and fitness were deemed important by those who took the survey, hence the playground and physical activities.
The playground in Middle Dryfork Village is phase one of a three-phase project, White said.
Phases two and three will create walkways and trails in the reservation and provide fitness equipment for the community.
There will also be two other playgrounds built - one in Box Elder and one in the agency.
The foundation is also sponsoring rodeo contestants in their travels and competitions.
Four rodeo contestants from Rocky Boy and Box Elder are in the top 15 chart of Indian Nationals Finals Rodeo. This chart takes into account all reservations and tribes from the Americas.
White said without the help of WROAF, the contestants would often not be able to travel to the rodeos and compete.
"They can do something they love and make something out of themselves," White said.
All-in-all, 33 contestants from the area are sponsored by the foundation.
With the help of the foundation, a group of children from Rocky Boy High School and Box Elder School were able to visit Washington, D.C., and take in the sights. White said the top students from each school were invited to take the trip.
"We took them there just to show there is a lot more out there," White said. "They are really bright kids."
The children visited Redskins Park, the Capitol, Supreme Court and Senate buildings, Washington Mall, Smithsonian Museums and other attractions.
"They got to experience some of the world," White said.
For each schools' use, 150 iPads were purchased with the help of WROAF.
"There's a lot more we plan on doing," White said. "That's just some of the things we've done so far."
The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation was created by the owner of the National Football League team, Dan Snyder. The foundation has visited 20 states' reservations to talk to tribal leaders and give aid to those in need. The foundation was launched in March following the controversy caused by those taking offense to the Redskins' mascot and name.