My recent blogs have been pretty depressing on the plight of the Lakota People living on Pine Ridge Reservation. From the price of food, to the isolation, the lack of housing, electricity and water, the poverty rate, the alcohol abuse, etc, etc… However, there are lots of good things about Pine Ridge Reservation!
(1) Melanie was on Pine Ridge 15 years ago and she says she sees the changes for the better. Positive changes, in the people and the place.
(2) Red Cloud Indian School. We visited Red Cloud Indian School. While we were there we visited Red Cloud’s grave, took in the Art Show at the Heritage Center, and talked to current and former students. This year, Red Cloud graduated 47 seniors. Forty-one of those students are going to college and six into the armed forces. What a great future. The students we talked too also said they are dedicated to coming back to Pine Ridge to help their community in the future.
(3) KILI radio. At 90.1 on the dial, a wonderful Pine Ridge Reservation radio station that serves at the voice of the Lakota Nation. They stream on-line too! Check it out..where else can you hear traditional Lakota music, talk radio about reservation issues, country music, and hip-hop? KILI radio! KILI RADIO. KILI radio is also non-profit, so they need help to keep running. Thanks.
(4) Re-member. Re-member has been working on the Pine Ridge Reservation for 15 years. They have become a respected member of the community. They assist in housing for many residents on the reservation. Think about becoming a volunteer and return each year, or check out their web site for giving a donation. Re-member.org
(5) Oglala Lakota College. These people are helping to build the future of college students. True, unemployment is incredibly high, but as students become educated they are better able to help their people on and off the reservation.
(6) Local artists. This is a great one. Yes, at every stop on the reservation there are locals selling bead work and sometimes quill work. The prices are not cheap, but it takes a few hours to make the pieces of jewelry. For many people this is their only source of income. Re-member hosts a craft night when many local Lakota artists bring their art work and jewelry to sell. We visited a traditional Trading Post where many artists come to buy the raw materials needed for their pieces. We visited the art show and shop at Red Cloud. There is a lot to see. One of the best Trading Post’s on Pine Ridge is the Singing Horse Trading Post run by Rosie, check it out. The wears sold there are phenomenal and the involvement in the community is amazing. Singing Horse
Lastly, if you visit a reservation. Spend your money on the reservation. Keep it there to benefit the people. Thanks.