Yesterday I connected with an online friend who told me about a presentation from an Oglala Lakota elder Barbara Dull Knife from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I told my friend I had always been very drawn to the Lakota in South Dakota, for a myriad of reasons, both spiritual and emotional.
Today I found the photography of Matthew Williams. He did a multimedia piece about Pine Ridge Reservation and it's youth. There are very few people who know the profound, and tragic history of this area. How The Black Hills were seized, and taken from the Lakota by the US government, who ignored Treaties, and are still doing so today.
Then I found the photographer Aaron Huey, who's photography evolved into a powerful TED talk, that I have posted. He gives the historical perspective regarding the Oglala Lakota, that is both disturbing and moving.
Few of us are aware of the extreme poverty and despair in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, which is on par with third world countries, being the highest poverty rate in the United States, and is greatly affected by alcoholism, gangs, drug abuse, and suicide.
It is not only the travesty and the legacy of genocide, of a proud people, so rich in culture and spiritual tradition, but it is about what is continuing to happen at Pine Ridge and beyond, with Indigenous First Nations people everywhere. It makes me sick.
I am however heartened by hope, and inspired to learn of people like the young woman, Maggie Dunne, who at the tender age of 16 years, was moved into action to make a difference by creating the Lakota Children's Enrichment.
When all is said and done ultimately, I have to agree with what Aaron Huey states at the end of his TED talk, give back the Black Hills and honour the Treaties.