The $65,000 question concerning PineRidge Reservation is what needs to be done? The spiritual, economic, social, and environmental issues are so huge, and for 150 years the problems have not changed. Is dissolving the Rez and letting the Lakota fend for themselves a solution? Or do we increase aid to the Rez so they can provide larger levels of entitlements? How much aid is really given to PineRidge?
I am going to find out how much money goes into the Rez. I know it must be a large amount if $80 million is leaving the Rez. So, at least for now, I don’t think the biggest issue is financial, but I do think distribution of resources is a huge factor. As I stated earlier the Lakota that hang around the fort seem to get more resources that others.
I did find out just before we left South Dakota that blankets were delivered to the CAP office in Allen, and from what I was told there are many items donated for distribution to the people. The distribution is accomplished by the tribe, not the BIA. So there does seem to be the distribution of goods that does occur on the Rez. However, the level of need suggests the distribution process is inefficient.
I don’t think eliminating the Rez right now is the solution. I think giving the Lakota a 10 year date where the entitlements are over is a solution to both of the above issues. Then just as large firms did in China, businesses can partner with the communities, the Oglala Lakota College, high schools and even elementary schools and train the adults and students on how to work. Business can communicate what skills are needed to work a job to the schools, and then the schools can educate the children and transform the communities in PineRidge, Manderson, Kyle, and Allen. The Lakotas need to change their view on commerce.
The Lakota leadership needs to get its people to see that working a job today is no different than hunting buffalo in the 1860’s. The mental model that the Lakota currently has needs to change from one of desiring entitlements to a warrior mentality. A person who works a job is a warrior fighting to provide for their family.
As a Christian I ultimately believe the solution is found in Christ, but the religious colonization that occurred in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s did much damage to the cause of Christ. Therefore, teaching them how to fish, rather than just give them a fish, is critical to the reception of the message of Christ.
There are multiple problems and which require multiple solutions. Ultimately it is the person of Jesus Christ who can redeem the past and restore the years that the canker worm has eaten.
And that is my thought for the day!