Our last day of school in persxn was March, 13. I remember that because it was Friday the 13. I really miss my friends and relatives that I usually see daily. now we can’t see each other, But at least we are keeping others and ourselves safe. The school I attend was the first school in the state to start virtual schooling, they were planning weeks before the Covid-19 hit us. We are planning to finish school this way. Persxnally my Expirience with the shelter in place is going okay, I just miss my relatives. I also miss going places,but now my family only leaves if it 100% necessary. The first case of Covid-19 was a really nice womxn who isn’t from here, who I know persxnally. She immediately followed protocol and stayed at home with her family. She then went to a hospital, in Rapid city, Sd, to get tested. She tested positive and our tribal council banned her and her family from coming back to Pine Ridge, but I believe they are able to lift the ban. So far, that has been the first known cases here on the Rez. Our lockdown for our reservation started April, 20 and has now ended on the 26. During the lockdown we couldn’t leave our house from 8pm-6am, unless we were Essential workers. On our borders cops had checkpoints to make sure folx were only leaving if it was essential.
We find ourselves in these uncertain times - with all of you - and wonder in what ways it will change our lives, our work and play, in the long run. We look at pictures, like the one above, and remember that day: the hugs, the hard work and the joy that came from being in service – physically and together - in service.
We LOVE what we do, and we love WHO we do it with: our Lakota friends and relatives, our amazing community of volunteers and supporters. When we look at the calendar that we set for 2020 it was FULL (in January we joked that our next break in activities would be in December). We had A LOT to do, for and with our friends on Pine Ridge. Like so many of you, our call to action has become to figure out how to shift, how to flow and how to make the greatest, mission informed impact while doing things differently- very differently!
This is where Covid-19 Action Initiative comes in which is something we can coordinate remotely while targeting the part of our mission aimed at alleviating conditions of poverty. The initiative provides income to our friends on Pine Ridge who are doing the on-the-ground work, aids in helping to keep more people staying safely at home and provides desperately needed food and supplies to the families most impacted. Of course, that is a hard call to make, as so many on Pine Ridge are facing deep poverty and food insecurity. Our Covid-19 Action Fund campaign will help us grow this new, emergency effort in order to make the greatest possible impact through the summer of 2020.
Other activities such as the online Lakota Culture Workshop Series and our re-imagined Gen7 virtual activities are ways that we hope to continue to advance those parts of our mission that aim to honor indigenous wisdom and work toward reconciling a deeply complicated and painful history. We are currently discussing other ways to advance our mission in this new context and welcome any input from anyone who is reading this!
While we have cancelled all April – June in-person events, we are closely monitoring the evolving Covid-19 situation and the needs and restrictions on Pine Ridge (there is a current travel ban on Pine Ridge). We will make a decision by May 15th as to our ability to effectively and safely launch LakotaRide 2020, which is scheduled for July 10 – 31. And for our fall volunteer groups, Gen7 events and the Race to Winterize, it is too early to call but please know that we will thoughtfully weigh all of the factors and make a decision that is in the best of our interest of all involved.
And so, Tipi Raisers is moving forward and we are deeply grateful to you, our community, for your ongoing support and for your dedication to helping us get this messy work right! We are optimistic about the future and remain steadfastly committed to you all - and to this work -as we are shown new ways to navigate what we do and how we do it.
Lori and Dave
Han mitakuyapi, cante waste nape cuzape. Lakota eya Kimimila Taoniye Win emaciyapi, na wasicu eya Miya Wahpaha I'Cu emiciyapi. Mitawaki ti'ma hel unka win ye, Ina wayeki Mert Garnette eciyapi, na ate wayeki Leon Takes War Bonnett eciyapi. Hello my relatives, I greet you with a good heart. My Lakota name is Butterfly Breath Woman and my English name is Miya Takes War Bonnett. I was born in December, my mother's name is Mert Garnette and my father's name is Leon Takes War Bonnett Jr. I live in Kyle, South Dakota which is part of the Pine Ridge Reservation, life during quarantine has challenges. Many jobs have been canceled along with school, food and money are becoming an issue. But thank you to Little Wound school for delivering food for the kids still in school, whether they're walkers or bus riders. My step dad has been working along with my mother. They take precautions to make sure they're not in anyway exposed to the virus. This also means the kids along with myself can't have people over who we don't know/trust. Essentials are now becoming harder to get to, Kyle doesn't have that much options to get them. Sure, we (my family) have our struggles but we make it through whatever we face. We believe this will pass, it just takes time. Take the authority to keep yourself clean, eat healthy, and pray. Pray it'll pass, pray for your loved ones, and pray for everyone in the world. Mitákuye Oyasin (we are all related), take care of one another. Pilamaya ye, thank you.
Hello my name is Justina I’m a part of Gen7 and have been for a little over a year now . I was born and am living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I am sixteen years old and am a sophomore. With the COVID-19 pandemic happening a lot has changed here and all over the world. I will be informing you on what’s personally happening to me and my family. There have been a lot of tribal meetings on how we will protect our people and especially our elders. Recently they have set a curfew that is from 10pm-6am, they have also shut down our rez to non-residents , essential travel can still pass by though. I’m extremely lucky that I go to the only private school on the rez. We haven’t gone to school in three weeks but the school has supplied every student with chromebooks , and we’ve been doing Zoom meetings , along with many other apps to help us learn from home. They also send out lunches that have a lot of food in them to students. It’s definitely taken some adjustment though. My family stocked up on food , in Rapid City as soon as we got out of school. My father still has work still , he’s road maintenance for the tribe. My mother is a teacher so she helps us at home while she is working. We’ve had no cases so far , but we did have a scare , thank Tunkasila the test came back negative. The day we were informed about distance learning at school , we prayed , we had an elder speak , we sang and all came together, and we also smudged twice , once during the prayer and again when students left to go home. We all are continuing to pray in our own ways , for our families and for the world. I feel the panic is there because of how unpredictable the sickness is. We keep reminding ourselves that we are strong indigenous people , our people have survived “the end of the world” many times before. We will get through this, we just need to continue protecting ourselves. I’m spending my time by going on walks with my family in our land , I’ve been focusing on myself a lot more too. People can help us by praying , or acknowledging to keep our elders protected and safe and to please stay home. We will overcome this if we all come together to fight it.
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