/  Jaywalker   /   Solutions Trip to the Oglala Lakota Reservation

pine ridge 5.6.14Pine Ridge is one of the most impoverished areas of our country. The average life expectancy of a man is 48, of a woman 52. Alcoholism is rampant plaguing 70 – 80% of the population. Unemployment runs at 85%. Teen suicide is 5X’s the national average. It is a hard place. Yet despite all of the desperation and oppression, there is a palpable heartbeat of pride, resilience, and hope amongst many of its people. We of Solutions go there two times a year to immerse ourselves in another world, a third world in the heartland of our nation. One cannot experience this place , this people, without impact.  We are changed for the better, and hopefully made a little difference in the lives of those so much less fortunate. This poem is my attempt to capture the essence of a recovering nation.  We are all related!

Sunflower fields in full bloom, offering

          A kiss of color on poverty acres

As prairie ghetto trailers house a history hidden

          By the blind eyes of the authors

Who dare not share the shame

          Of oppressions bitter rewards

We have come to take a taste

          Of the lost supper

Red Road journeys fading in time

Embers stoked by the battle hardened

Waging sustenance for the starving

Who see no horizons

Marching only in place

On the Trail of Jeers

Seeking direction from the resolute

Where wisdom rules

We have come to take a listen

To the Truth

Frost crackle blankets on

          Hand me down floors

Relief coming in the firerise

          Of dawns not yet vanquished

If only faith remain

          In the pugilist heart of many scars

Still beating, Undefeated

          We have come to take a look

At ourselves

          Mitakuye Oyasin

For more pictures click on the picture above!

Dan Reed

Program Director