Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
At the end of a nine-hour drive, the Jaywalker Solutions clients and three staff members landed in another culture and another world: the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Three distinctly different organizations, an adult church group from New Hampshire, an inner city Boston high school group, and Jaywalkers made an eclectic team of 40 workers who were scheduled to work over the next few days. We were mixed together in teams of four and assigned projects by Re-Member, an organization that has been serving on the reservation for 17 years. We skirted trailers, built handicap ramps and stairs, dug holes and built outhouses, and started summer gardens.
On most nights our groups listened to Native American speakers who challenged beliefs and assumptions that most of us hold about the lives lived on the reservation, and more importantly, why these people live as they do. We learned about their matriarchal culture, a way of life that is very different from our own patriarchal society.
The Native Americans are spiritual people living each day trying to find their way back to a culture that was taken from them as a result of 387 broken treaties. They have been living as economically destitute POWs in a free country.
On the final night, our own Dan Reed, Solutions Director, received special recognition from Re-Member for Jaywalker’s continuous service work during the last five years. The next day, after a nine-hour drive, the Solutions work team arrived back in Carbondale, tired, but renewed, because giving of oneself is always a fulfilling endeavor.