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Pine Ridge Reservation

Here it is: the pictures and story of our week at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. We stayed and worked with Re-Member, a great organization that is helping the Lakota people in many ways. (Thanks to everyone who chipped in - we bought two complete bed sets and two pillows with your donation! You can see the donors and a picture of the items on my facebook page.)

Here's our group in the 'Wisdom of the Elders' part of the day. Our leader, Ted, would speak for about an hour each morning after breakfast, teaching us about the Lakota lifestyle and struggles. Every night a Lakota elder would come and speak to us, to teach us their ways and culture.

Here's Larry, dressed in Lakota regalia. I laughed until I cried.

The womens dorm. There were about 20 of us sharing the room. Lots of bonding time! Every morning our wake-up call came at 6:00 am, with the lights turned on and Indian music playing.

Ted gave us a tour of the new property Re-Member bought. Now they will have more land and be able to do even more for our Lakota brothers and sisters.

Here's our group on tour day. We saw the Badlands and toured the Lakota Reservation.

Staff member Corbin took us to an Indian trading post. Isn't he adorable in those feathers?

On our workdays, we would split up into three teams to work on various projects. Here I am working on building a deck for a Lakota family. Before this they were using a crate as a step to their door. I learned how to use a circular saw, a drill press and many other tools. Not bad for a girl who only knew how to hammer a nail!

This sweet little girl loves her new deck!

We also skirted a trailer with a generous donation of materials from World Hunger Relief. This will save the occupants a lot of money on fuel to keep their trailer warm.

Staff member Bill was goofing off. And yes, he actually did balance this board on his chin!

Mark's team built a straw/mud house for a Lakota family.

And the next day they put up a corral for a Lakota man's buffalo ranch.

We also built bunkbeds. A lot of families don't have a bed to sleep on. They either sleep on the floor or in the bathtub. We would make the individual pieces and paint them at the Re-Member workshop, and then assemble them in the homes they were going to. We made up the beds with sheets, blankets and pillows. Home sweet home! 

This cute baby girl LOVED her bed! We also supplied books to the children. I had the fun job of picking out books for them. I helped her pick out some books that played music and had pull-out pockets. As we were leaving she pointed at me and said "book." Then she motioned for me to follow her. She had neatly placed her books underneath her bunk bed. Sweet!

The Badlands.

Custer State Park. We drove through after our week at the reservation. As you can see it was snowing!

Our last night before heading home we went to a Pow-wow in Rapid City. Loved it!

Here's a great video to watch, to learn about the real history of the Native Americans. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to turn off the background music first).