Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Shannon County) is home to Approximately 28,000 people, the majority of these people are Native American enrolled in the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Shannon county for many years has owned the title of "Poorest County in the U.S".
Let me start with a little of my history and why I have decided to start this project. My name is Jack Pittman I am from the Haida tribe out of Juno, Alaska, I came to this reservation in 1996 to assist a family member with her business. I noticed then that the basic needs of the people were very commonly unmet. I met and fell deeply in love with a woman from here and began to build a life together putting all my attention on my family. In 2001 our lives took a drastic turn and we relocated to Oregon then Arizona for 6+ years we worked and attempted to build the "American Dream". We ended up coming home due to failed business and homesickness only to find that my wife's home had been falling apart over the years. A small program decided to make our home their "Pilot Project" and we began rebuilding our home. We accomplished many things with our home in a short time and I was very thankful for the help, however toward the end our home was tossed to the side, we still lacked plumbing and heat. It was at this time that I decided that these programs were set to make the people running them get ahead, I knew in my heart and soul this wasn't right so I decided to start a project that was started for the people and would serve the people.
Our project will attempt to accomplish a number of projects that I will line out below. Also the links to the left of this page will take you to some of the specific projects that we are working on.
A large portion of our people and community members live in what we call substandard housing. Homes with no electricity, no plumbing, improperly sealed against the elements. The seasons here are very harsh, Summertime temperatures reach well over 100 degrees, Wintertime temperatures are known to fall to 30 below.
What we have in mind for this portion of the R.R.P. is to solicit assistance for homes and families to help secure these homes and make them safe and healthy dwelling places.
For more information on this please visit our Housing page here.
While the needs mentioned below are very real and very needed we are concentrating on getting home prepared for winter right now. Once R.R.P. is running smooth we will be implementing these programs one at a time. However if you have donation or material to donate to these causes listed below please do not hesitate to contact us right away, we would be more than happy for your help and donations.
Transportation is a major issue for many families here on the reservation. Health and Food facilities are commonly 10+ miles away. Many people do not have the transportation to go to town for a visit to the hospital or grocery shopping. If you are lucky you know someone that can give you a ride, this however comes at a cost, to do this these families must spend their precious food dollars for a simple ride to the store or hospital. And if you are trying to make your food dollar spread you must drive even farther to another town where the food prices are more reasonable.
In the transportation portion of this program we are attempting to solicit donations of assistance in transportation.
Of course there are food stamps and commodities, however have you ever tried to feed a 10 person family on $600 for a whole month?
Sometime there is just too much month at the end of the food.
R.R.P. Envisions having a small warehouse of canned and dried foods where the common person can come and receive some food assistance for their family without losing their pride or lowering themselves to tossing someone else's trash away because it is unusable..
We all know how hard it is to make bills sometimes, Here on the Reservation our utilities are mostly intertwined, if you have no electricity you have no water because your water pump works on electricity. If you run out of propane you have no heat or hot water. With an unemployment rate of 85% people cannot always pay their bill not because they mismanaged their funds because they have NO funds.
R.R.P. would like to have a Energy Assistance Program, That within reason will be able to assist a needy family in keeping their electric/gas so their home is safe, warm, and healthy.