The Sacred Healing Circle (SHC) has been serving the Oglala Lakota Nation and other bands of the Oceti Sakowin (the Seven Council Fires, the proper name for the people commonly known as Sioux) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation since 2005, including emergency housing repairs.
“Sacred Healing Circle is a nonprofit organization established to assist individuals, families and communities to heal,” explained executive director Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin.
Thanks to the supporters of Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, this year we were able to provide grant funding for its emergency home repair program on the reservation.
“The purpose of the grant was to provide emergency home repairs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for families with elders and small children who are most in need,” said Dr. Running Horse Collin, who noted that skilled community workers provided the labor for this program which benefited 150 adults and children from infants to 90-years-old.
The funding enabled SHC to pay day labor rates for skilled members of the community, cover their transportation costs, which for many involves travelling long distances on the massive reservation, provide meals, and purchase materials to make repairs to roofs and ceilings, make foundation repairs for sagging mobile homes, replace non-functioning toilets, repair sinks and showers, replace windows, doors and screens, repair flooring, make electrical repairs, and more.
Among the challenges facing the SHC is the great need for home repairs for Pine Ridge families throughout the reservation.
“One of the main issues we encountered was that the demand for home repairs, and the need for paying for work exceeded what we could provide within the scope of the program,” reported Dr. Running Horse Collin.
“We also found that once we began work on a home, the home was in need of many costly foundational repairs. So, while we may be asked to repair a toilet, but once we got there we found the whole bathroom floor and plumbing system needed replacement.”
She acknowledged that there is not much they could do differently next time, noting that “as there will always be a cap on the amount of funds that can be raised for such a project, and the need is immense.
“However, our task is to provide hope, and I believe that in each of these cases we accomplished this.”
Specifically, Dr. Running Horse Collin said that because of the grant funding from Running Strong they were able to repair homes “that offered dangerous living situations for elderly individuals and small children,” provide “respectful working opportunities for multiple community members,” and “provide relief in many situations where the tribe was unable to make the repairs requested.
“This brought hope to many people who believed that they were forgotten.”
Among those community members who benefitted from the work opportunity was Jay, a young man who accompanied his father on many of these home repair work projects.
“Over the year, he has learned skills and enjoyed helping his community members,” she said.
“I feel good to be here helping my People and learning from my dad,” says Jay.
And to the supporters of Running Strong who made the emergency housing repairs on Pine Ridge possible, Dr. Running Horse Collin stated:
“We thank you deeply for all of your support and your continuous dedication to helping us be all that we can be!”