Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association, Northern Cheyenne Tribal leaders and Everything Beautiful Thrift Store staff host a dedication of their new building, soon to be opened in midtown on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. Photo by Clara Caufield / Native Sun News Today

Million dollar miracle at Northern Cheyenne

LAME DEER, Montana – On Sunday, November 17 the Northern Cheyenne Ministerial Association and Board of Directors, Everything Beautiful Thrift Store held a dedication of their new building, soon to be opened in midtown Lame Deer, capital, Northern Cheyenne Nation. The Ministerial Association is comprised of pastors and church workers from fourteen churches on and near the reservation.

The tasteful building built to the tune of one million in actual money, donated labor and materials is a galvanized steel structure containing a large space for an enlarged thrift store; commercial kitchen and community dining area; offices; community gathering areas and a full basement. Seven years in the making, it was financed through fund raising and considerable donations of labor and materials provided by many non-Indians across the country, as well as local volunteer effort. Local contractors, principally Tom Robinson, tribal member, were selected for much of the work, employing tribal member at Bacon Davis wages while others volunteered, satisfying community service obligation.

The new building may also allow for other types of community assistance: possibly a food bank, classes such as bead working, a craft cooperative, AA and other self-help meetings. And Vice -Chair, Ministerial Association, Pastor Dennis Bauers, Circle of Life Church also envisions tribal members building their own log cabins, assisted by a sawmill owned by that church.

The story behind this development is remarkable. “Who would think that eight ministers on a poverty-stricken reservation could pull this off?” said Deacon Jo Kristifek, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. “We didn’t even think so when starting out in 2012. It is only by the grace of Maheo’o (the Creator) this has happened.”

Getting ready to start the dedication of our new building! Dedicated first and foremost to Creator Ma'heo'o and dedicated to the Cheyenne people.

Posted by Everything Beautiful Thrift Store on Sunday, November 17, 2019

It started in an unlikely way. Often, well meaning donors would send clothes to the Reservation, but as there was no systematic way to handle that, those items were often unloaded in public places, subject to rain, snow and the elements. Through the moccasin telegraph, reservation residents would find out, come to hunt and pick, but generally a pile of debris was left, adding to the general garbage problem on the reservation.

“It was not dignified for our people” said Willis Busenitz, Pastor White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church, Busby,

In 2012, the good ministers serving the Northern Cheyenne Reservation- then eight in number - met to discuss this problem, forming a nonprofit organization, then meeting every two weeks. Very soon, they opened a thrift store, housed in a vacant building owned by the Morningstar Baptist Church, which provided that space for some years, allowing the thrift store to gain a substantial foothold, widely patronized by the community.

Suzette Cain Shreffler, Northern Cheyenne Christian woman had recently returned home from Seattle seeking ways to serve both her people and the Lord. Initially, she offered to manage for one year, but as the Thrift Store blossomed, providing critical and economical goods and other “pastoring” services to the community, she spent six years there, now gone on to good works in Pennsylvania.

Current staff include tribal members, Virginia Ridgebear, Manager Desiree Two Crow, Cashier and many local volunteers. The Everything Beautiful Thrift Store has changed their lives, they say. As it has beneficially affected many other troubled Cheyenne, prayer and other support often offered.


Support Native media!

Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: Million dollar miracle at Northern Cheyenne

Clara Caufield can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

Join the Conversation