Projects and links

17 06 2011

Question: what’s the link between Finnish teachers, Geronimo, the NHS, building a youth centre, Osama Bin Laden, horse riding, surfing polar bears and healthy eating?

Answer: I’ve been reading about them this week.

Let’s Move

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Sure, this is an ambitious goal. But with your help, we can do it.

Building Projects are taking donations for wooden pallets. The pallets for an Earth Tipi project to build 6,000 sustainable homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Each home needs 200 pallets and costs $10,000. Each Facebook sponsor will have their name placed on their pallet and a photo of the pallet on the Earth Tipi website. All the photos will form a gallery of Facebook sponsors with links to the sponsors Facebook page or profile.

Another interesting building method is the bottle brick. ‘Bricks’ are made by stuffing plastic bottles with rubbish. They are then enclosed in a wire frame and covered with cob.

Village Earth are taking donations to employ youths to build their own youth centre on Pine Ridge. From the Village Earth website:

Help the Wounded Knee Community Development Corporation (WKCDC) employ youth to renovate [an] old one-room schoolhouse into their own youth center! They need to raise $5000 by June 30th to purchase the remaining supplies for the project.

The Wounded Knee CDC has been approved to administer funding from the Federal Job Training Partnership Act, enough to pay approximately 40 youth (ages 14-22) from the district to transform an old one-room school-house into the Wounded Knee Youth Programs Facility. However, the funding does not cover the entire amount needed for materials and supplies.

Even if you can’t donate, please share the links.

Lakota Horsemanship Organisation

The Lakota Horsemanship Organisation is a non-profit organisation which runs workshops and takes children and young people on visits, camps and memorial rides. In an environment with 80% – 90% unemployment, with a huge school drop-out rate, where alcoholism and drug addiction are rife, where dwellings house several families and often don’t have heating, electricity or even running water, it is hardly surprising that the teen suicide rate is 150% higher than the national average and projects like this are really important.

As well as monetary donations, they take donation of the following goods:

  • Horse tack and accessories of any type
  • Medicine, ointments and care products
  • Arts and crafts supplies for the kids and for workshops
  • Outdoor equipment, sleeping bags, tents etc
  • First aid sets
  • School material, pens, writing pads, painting books

In the News


Pine Ridge Photos

18 03 2011

I came across a gallery of photos of Pine Ridge on I’ve copied and pasted the description below. Click the text to view the slideshow.

Please check out the One Spirit ( website for information on what you can do to help.


Fighting for Survival on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

On the Great Plains, hidden away on little traveled back roads, is American Prisoner of War Camp Number 334. This is also known as Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Lakota Sioux. They are the tribe that suffered the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre, in December of 1890, in which an estimated 350 Lakota were killed. Among the dead were over one hundred unarmed women and children. Since that day Wounded Knee, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, have been a symbol of the wrongs inflicted on Native Americans by the descendants of Europeans. Pine Ridge is the quintessential example of the failures of the reservation system, with staggering statistics on everything from violent crime to education.

Sadly, Pine Ridge continues to be the setting for an ongoing massacre within the tribe.
Gangs on the reservation are out of control, and the violence they live by grips even the smallest villages. Unemployment on the reservation fluctuates between 85-90%, the housing office is unable to afford to build new structures, and existing structures are falling apart. Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to five families. Thirty-nine percent of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation have no electricity. It is reported that at least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are infested with black mold, which causes an often-fatal condition with infants, children, and the elderly. According to 2006 resources, about 97% of the population lives below federal poverty levels.

The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately eight times higher than the U.S. national average. The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 3 times higher than the U.S. national average. Cervical cancer is five times higher than the U.S. national average. The school drop out rate is over 70%. Teacher turnover is eight times that of the U.S. national average. Frequently, grandparents are raising their grandchildren because their own children have succumbed to alcoholism, domestic violence, and general apathy. Making life even more grim, fifty percent of the population over 40 suffers from diabetes and the life expectancy for men is a mere 48 years of age.

I have spent years following stories of war, poverty, and neglect in foreign conflicts around the world. I found, however, that I had a group in my own backyard that had been conveniently forgotten. This emotional photographic exploration has transcended the normal boundaries of a documentary for me. I have developed a deep friendship and love for the people of Pine Ridge, and for the families I have visited on several journeys over the past three years. My hope is that this photographic exploration will bring to light a people who have long been demonized, victimized, and romanticized, but ultimately abandoned.

I hope that these photos of the Lakota will, if nothing else, make it impossible to forget them.

One Spirit

15 03 2011

If anyone’s thinking of donating to a charity, please consider One Spirit. They run various programs to support the Lakota living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Here are some stats about the reservation, taken from the One Spirit website.

One Spirit run sponsorship, food, wood, youth and Okini programs and are also looking for markets for Lakota arts and crafts.

Here are a couple of videos showing conditions on the reservation.

%d bloggers like this: