I first heard about the situation in Pine Ridge a few years ago while watching Diane Sawyer profiling the tragic issue of teen suicide on the reservation. I pledged then and there that if ever I was able to help the people on the reservation, I would. Finally, during the 4th of July holiday weekend of 2015, I visited Pine Ridge to produce an episode of Raw Travel entitled "Pine Ridge - Tribal Tourism" and my life has never been the same.
Nothing that specifically extraordinary happenned to me on that trip, I just met regular folks from the reservation who were so kind and hospitable to me, a total stranger. But i was very impressed by their resiliancy in the face of difficult circumstances throughout their recent history.
I was equally impressed by the large number of locals, transplants and volunteers working to help make the situation on Pine Ridge better, especially for Lakota Youth. I can think of no better way to inspire young people to believe in themselves than to allow them to explore the innate creativity present in all human beings.
I was made aware of the lack of creative outlets by youth on the reservation when I interviewed the local band "Scatter Their Own" where Scotti & Julianna informed me that no music schools existed on the entire reservation. After interviewing the folks at Red Cloud School I thought there would be no better way to give back than to help them continue and expand their after school arts program.
I hope we can work with some talented film folks on the reservation to begin a film school as well and maybe even bring in some speakers on a consistent basis. The sky is the limit. Whatever you contribute, big or small, I pledge to you it will be put to good use.
Even though this fundraising effort kicks off to coordinate with our Raw Travel - Pine Ridge / Tribal Tourism debut, this will be an ongoing effort and will continue as long as their is interest in helping the kids in Pine Ridge. For me this already is an ongoing cause I've pretty much resigned to be dedicated to until things improve drastically.
With your help, they I'm confident they can and will. For more information on Raw Travel - Pine Ridge please visit www.RawTravelPineRidge.com
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