A Week on Pine Ridge: Turkeys, Toys, Coats, Shoes, Blankets and More for the Reservation
The week of December 10 – 14, 2018 was a busy one for the Running Strong staff on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, beginning that Monday with a semi-tractor trailer loaded with toys shipped from our warehouse in Virginia to our field office, Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness through a Good Home), in South Dakota.
Throughout the week Field Coordinator Dave Lone Elk, with the assistance of his father, Ken Lone Elk, and other family members, unloaded two semi-tractor trailers full of frozen turkeys and food boxes, setting aside pallets designated for representatives from the nine districts who would be collecting them, along with winter coats, snow boots, blankets, and, of course, the toys for Christmas.
Thursday morning was the big day at Tipi Waste. For several hours families made their way to the check-in desk to filled out a sheet with the number of children, their ages and sex. Dave and his crew of volunteers make sure that each child got the right size coat and pair of boots, and toys that would fill their hearts with joy on Christmas morning.
Christmas Comes Early for Native Families on Pine Ridge
Thanks to “Running Strong Santas,” Christmas came a bit early this year for the families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation who collected thousands of toys for their children for Christmas.
For the mothers and fathers, the gift was relief knowing that they would be able ensure that Santa had presents under the tree for their children, and for the few children who came with them to the Running Strong field office on the reservation – an early gift of a football, toy car or a surprise gift-wrapped box.
A few days later, Running Strong affiliate on Pine Ridge, the Oyate Teca Project, hosted its annual Christmas party ensuring that 486 children received gifts!
Dreamstarter Lourdes Teaches Cultural Uses of Her Community’s Natural Resources
In November, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Lourdes Pedroza-Downey (Round Valley Indian Tribes) held her first community event at Round Valley (CA) Elementary School giving her presentation on T’oh-telh (bear grass) and how it is used by the Wailaki people and neighboring tribes.
During the Dreamstarter Academy, in April in Washington, DC Lourdes found Wailaki baskets at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Cultural Resource Center that were made with t’oh-telh.
She took photos and when she got home she began to study and learn about t’oh-telh and its uses and is now spreading the word to young people in her community.
Water Projects Continue to Expand to Serve More Lakota and Navajo Children and Families
On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and the Navajo Nation in Arizona there are 92 people, including 32 children, who today have what most Americans take for granted – running water.
In these 20 households, family members had no choice but to drive several miles to fill up containers with water for their drinking, cooking, washing and bathing - wasting gasoline, time and money.
But thanks to the supporters of the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) water program on Pine Ridge, and the Diné Naabeehó Tó (Navajo People’s Water) Challenge these families no longer have to worry about having enough water for all their needs.