Pine Ridge, SD – Where We Were Needed

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By DAN REED
Jaywalker Solutions Program Director

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“Why are you here?” a Lakota elder asked us one evening as we sat listening to his story. A simple and yet profound question that left us wondering. Perhaps it was to challenge our comfort zone and to rely on one another to ease our uneasiness in this strained and battered place. Perhaps it was to hear the wisdom of a people who remain steadfast in their resolve to embrace their differences and remain proud of who they are despite persecution. Perhaps it was to bring a smile to a childs heart bruised in life by residing in a filthy and dilapidated home ravaged by alcoholism.

We saw firsthand why the suicide rate amongst the young here is epidemic and wondered if there truly was a way out. “It will be a great day when we don’t need you to come here anymore” said that same elder as he continued to share. Unfortunately that day is such a distant horizon that it remains shrouded in darkness. We were there because we needed to be. For ourselves, for the people of Pine Ridge, for the sake of living recovery in the raw. That is why we are all here.

Mitakuye Oyasin,
Dan

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