The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is the home of the Oglala Lakota and it is a powerful place -- the land of Crazy Horse, Black Elk, Red Cloud, the Wounded Knee Massacre site, Whiteclay, the AIM standoff and sacred ceremonies rooted in traditions passed down from thousands of years ago. It is a land that attracts Christians, Buddhists, Jews, New Agers, those looking to heal and to be healed and countless others . . . from across the World. It is also a place of abject poverty, crushing unemployment and a land that plays host to a multitude of social issues that can leave some of its People desperately hopeless. And yet, outsiders still come and most of its People stay . . . or return. It's a place where the promise of the Lakota --and the best of the Modern World -- can (if they choose) dance together in a sometimes confused though powerful dance of possibilities.
We invite you to join us here. To enjoy the beauty of the South Dakota prairie --- the quiet and solitude away from modern day cities. We invite you to ride off trail on horseback with us -- and to watch buffalo herds move across the open prairie. We invite you to sleep in a tipi by a campfire and to let yourself be moved by young Lakota men playing ancient songs on the drum. Come listen to -- and talk with -- the Elders about their proud beliefs, traditions and culture. Meet and talk with the young Lakota about their experiences growing up on a reservation that is a sovereign nation within the boundaries of the United States of America.
For all its richness of beauty, culture and tradition, though, the reservation is also a hard place to visit --- and to live. Because it is here that exists a clash of cultures and Spiritual perspectives as well as hundreds of years of misunderstanding. There was an attempt at genocide here, and other mistakes, betrayals and lies that were made . . . . and continue to be made . . . . from outside and now from within. And so, there are ghosts that haunt because of that.
For those who are seeking time away from the Modern World in a manner that not only revitalizes but also challenges, we invite you to join us.
For those who wish to be involved in helping to rebuild a community -- we invite you . . . and thank you for your willingness to help.
For those of you who seek to learn more about the history of Columbus, Manifest Destiny, the Doctrine of Discovery, Custer, Wounded Knee, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and what happens when a dominant army and its People come into contact with a proud and powerful People that refuse to assimilate -- we invite you.
For those of you who wish to ride horses, camp, participate in community service and participate in a traditional community -- we welcome and invite you.
You will learn a great deal here --- about the Lakota, the United States of America, its indigenous People, the land and also about yourself, we suspect. We welcome you in the best and most sacred traditions of the Lakota as you are a guest in our homes and on our land. And we thank you for bringing the gifts that you bring: Your willingness to help us, to share your stories, your time and your efforts.
Wopila (Thank you)