About Soaring Eagle

In the mid 1950s, Father Emmett Hoffmann was sent to southeastern Montana to the little-known St. Labre Mission. Having grown up on a farm in the Midwest, the young priest was unsure what to expect when he arrived on the reservation. What he found were people living in heart-wrenching poverty. For more than 40 years Father Emmett ministered to the people of St. Labre while working to raise awareness and funds for the Northern Cheyenne people. His fundraising work led to the building of schools, homes and churches as well as to the creation of safe water systems.

Addressing the Needs of Aging Elders

Although many projects were completed, one need remained: how to keep tribal elders on the reservation. Cheyenne chiefs expressed their concern for the number of elderly who had to leave the reservation to receive care. Chief Charles Sitting Man, Jr. stated, “My people are packed off to towns where they can’t speak English. Relatives don’t have transportation to go that afar to visit. The old die alone and come back in a bag—a bag of bones.”

read stories from the elders

Soaring Eagle is Founded

In 1997, following a brief retirement, Father Emmett founded Soaring Eagle, a Public Charity. Soaring Eagle’s primary focus was the building of the Heritage Living Center overlooking Ashland Montana. Completed in 2002, it was designed to provide an assisted living environment for Native American elders. The Center ensures residents have a safe and comfortable environment, healthy meals and enjoyable cultural activities. Most importantly, the center allows these remarkable individuals to remain close to their friends and family on the reservation, which is critical to preserving the Cheyenne stories and traditions.

learn more about the heritage living center

Continuing Our Mission

While Soaring Eagle accomplished our initial goal of building the Heritage Living Center, our needs are ongoing. Because we are not privately funded by any church, tribe or federal program, we rely on gifts from our donors. Our Board of Directors and countless volunteers work together to meet the many needs of the tribal members we serve, and your help will allow us to continue our mission of protecting the cultural heritage of Native American peoples.

Learn how you can help

Soaring Eagle is a 501(c)(3) organization unaffiliated with any tribe or religion, and we receive no federal funding. We depend solely on the support of generous donors who share our vision and our commitment to honoring Native American history and heritage.