Lakota in Dakota I’m Coming for You!

Hi there everyone! Long time, no-post and all that.

Jenny and the Gang
Jenny and the Gang

So I am just going to write a quick one here tonight to let you all know I am heading off into the great blue yonder to visit my friend Jenny who is currently working for AmeriCorps. Here’s their X-mas photo.

Don’t know about AmeriCorps? Read about it here: http://www.americorps.gov/

My dear friend Jenny is volunteering out in Pine Ridge, South Dakota at a Oglala Sioux Native American reservation. There she’s been driving a school bus and bringing kids to class, teaching them, as well as running their extra curriculars, and meanwhile has stayed in contact with our hometown in hopes of getting more volunteers and aid to the Lakota people. Currently amongst our churches Jenny’s family has collected over 100 boxes of books to be donated to the Pine Ridge schools and book fairs!

The Lakota of South Dakota
The Lakota of South Dakota

There is not too much I can tell you yet about Pine Ridge; although, from what I have heard thus far it is one of the poorest counties in the United States.  According to wikipedia.org (take it for what it’s worth an’ all that), “The median income for a household in the CDP was $21,089, and the median income for a family was $20,170.” Here’s another little excerpt from wikipedia.org you might like to know:

Although Pine Ridge is the eighth largest reservation in the United States, it is also the poorest. Unemployment on the reservation hovers around 80%, and 49% live below the Federal poverty level.[2] Adolescent suicide is four times the national average. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewer. Many families use wood stoves to heat their homes. The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: approximately 47 years for males and in the low 50s for females. The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average.

Famous Lakota Touch the Clouds
Famous Lakota Touch the Clouds

So although this may not be the happiest trip I have ever been on, I am sure it will be an insightful one. Depending on the availability of wi-fi and phone coverage (which I hear there is little), I would like to document some of my trip.

Oh Boy!
Oh Boy!

We’ll see how this goes. We have already made plans to visit some of the more tourist-y areas like Wall-Drug, the Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, etc. I was hoping we might be able to attend a sweat ceremony, but unfortunately we are still sitting in the burbs for the time being.

Well I should get to sleep seeing as I have to get up at 6 am tomorrow and drive all day (15 hours! ugh).I will keep you all posted and hopefully I might convince you to either donate some goods or time to the Lakota. Otherwise, at least visit them and give them your business.

Good night everyone and merry travels!

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