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Vermont Students Tackle Poverty on South Dakota Reservation


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, children, corruption, crime, culture, death, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, freedoms, government, law, media, police, politics, religion, rights, society, violence )

Kit
- 247 days ago - sanders.senate.gov
Seven students and a teacher from Mt. Mansfield Union High School are set to travel to one of the poorest counties in the United States to help members of the Oglala Lakota Sioux who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.



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Kit B. (277)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 5:50 am
Photo from Bernie Buzz


JERICHO, Vt. -- Seven students and a teacher from Mt. Mansfield Union High School are set to travel to one of the poorest counties in the United States to help members of the Oglala Lakota Sioux who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Working with a non-profit organization which assists the Pine Ridge Reservation community, the Vermont students will spend several days learning about the history of the South Dakota Black Hills and working to improve the lives of the Oglala Lakota Sioux. The students’ trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation will be the first of its kind for the volunteers of the MMU Leo Club, which was established in 2011 as an official Leo Club sponsored by the Jericho-Underhill Lions Club. In the past, the club has focused on orchestrating fall clean ups, pancake breakfasts, and helping with the Special Olympics Winter Games.

“We wanted to do something bigger,” said club president Erica Rosmus, 18, explaining why the high school students wanted to go to the South Dakota reservation.

Will Wright is the advisor for the MMU Leo Club and math teacher at Mt. Mansfield Union High School in Jericho. The students decided to go to the impoverished reservation, Wright said, after he shared the details of his trip there last summer. Wright’s experience— which involved patching roofs, adding insulation to homes and building eight bunk beds for “kids that never had beds before”— left a lasting impression.

One of the elements of the MMU Leo Club that makes it different from other community-service oriented clubs, the students said, is that this club is not focused on simply raising funds for charities. Instead, they said they relish the opportunity to “go out in the community and do things.”

The students are heading to the reservation as the nearly 40,000 people who live there are being dealt a blow by recent federal budget cuts, known as the sequester. “With the cuts, the poverty trap that has plagued the reservation for generations looks certain to worsen, with yet more families mired in deprivation,” The New York Times reported last month.

DEVASTATING CONDITIONS

The counties that make up the Pine Ridge Reservation have traditionally been some of the poorest in the United States. “The poverty on Pine Ridge can be described in no other terms than third world,” according to the Pine Ridge, S.D.-based nonprofit, Re-Member. “It is common to find homes overcrowded, as those with homes take in whoever needs a roof over their heads. Many homes are without running water, and without sewer.”

The statistics portray a harrowing reality: Re-Member estimates the jobless rate on the reservation to be upwards of 90 percent, per capita income at just $4,000 annually, and a suicide rate twice that the national average.

Ana Wright, a senior at MMU, joined the community service club her freshman year. Ana said she wanted to make the trip because these families “are living in terrible conditions.” “We should definitely help them because no one should be living like this,” she said.

Rosmus, the club president, can’t make the trip this year. She said she hopes it will become an annual tradition that will allow her to participate in the years ahead.

While the dire conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation might deter most young people from visiting, these seven MMU students stand ready to travel to South Dakota to improve lives of these families living on the reservation.
****

Source: Vermont Bernie Buzz


 

Christeen Anderson (422)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 5:58 am
This is incredible. Thanks for the share.
 

Michael Kirkby (80)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 9:43 am
Excellent work. This is a shameful situation for the once great Oglala Lakota to find themselves in. I doubt the Dakotas are faring much better.
 

JL A. (269)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 12:15 pm
Sounds like their vision is like the Sierra Service Project (affiliated with the Methodist Church) that coordinates similar efforts on reservations and other high poverty areas.

http://www.sierraserviceproject.org/programs.html
 

Dandelion G. (399)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 12:51 pm
The students are heading to the reservation as the nearly 40,000 people who live there are being dealt a blow by recent federal budget cuts, known as the sequester. “With the cuts, the poverty trap that has plagued the reservation for generations looks certain to worsen, with yet more families mired in deprivation,” The New York Times reported last month.

The Plutocrats know no shame. The Sequesters or let us call it what it is AUSTERITY and HEARTLESS behavior by a ruthless bunch in the Banking Industry and the Corporate World of Wall Street that does not want to pay a few extra dollars in taxes.

These Plutocrats would of had NOTHING if it hadn't been for all the rape and pillaging of the first inhabitants lands that still go on to this day. Yet they would deny a few crumbs to go to the poorest of the poor, which is the Pine Ridge Rez or shall I say Prisoner of War Camp.

This is a small community in Vermont, but Vermonters in general, are down to earth kind hearted people. It is a State that has stood up to the Big Box stores and are smart enough to vote in Bernie Sanders. I'm sure the offering will be most appreciated.
 

Peggy A. (0)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 1:38 pm
Thanks for sharing.
 

Sue L. (64)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 2:17 pm
I think it's great that this group of teens is going to help but the US needs permanent plans in place to help this reservation. For many years groups have gone to help but it is like a drop in the ocean. Let's find a better way to give these people a decent life!
 

Robert O. (12)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 2:53 pm
Thanks Kit.
 

GGmaSheila D. (89)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 3:25 pm
Kudos to all those willing to live out of their comfort zones to help. Too bad some of the House GOP/TP wouldn't be caught dead some place like this...
Noted and thank you for sharing this.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (264)
Thursday August 15, 2013, 4:28 pm
These Teens are amazing
 

Frances Darcy (190)
Friday August 16, 2013, 5:32 am
How sad that these indigenous people are left this way .... they were robbed of all they had and now even the basics.
 

. (0)
Friday August 16, 2013, 8:15 am
Good for them! We need more students that are willing to help Native Americans.
 

Justin M. (2)
Friday August 16, 2013, 8:55 am
Noted
 

Birgit W. (135)
Friday August 16, 2013, 3:17 pm
Thanks for sharing.
 

june t. (62)
Friday August 16, 2013, 3:19 pm
I'm glad the teens are doing something like this to help. I also think it must feel demeaning to the people that they are needing the help, that they are put in this position largely because of govt policies. I'm sure they are grateful for the help.
 

marie tc (164)
Friday August 16, 2013, 5:36 pm
This is a wonderful move by these students
Thanks Dandelion
 

Deborah W. (6)
Friday August 16, 2013, 5:55 pm
God bless the heart that still pumps compassion and commitment to a good greater than self. And it's exhibited here among the younger population ... our hope for the future. Glad to see they realize the treasure of the Lakota-Sioux so often lost in our modern, high tech society of the braindead.

Ever notice how often needed help is provided by small private community groups down in the trenches where iand how needed NOW and not down the road after unnecessary tie-ups, committee meetings, court challenges, etc?

Hope this single act of kindness ignites a groundswell of future such aid, one to another ... screw the wheelers and dealers, their lack of concern will be repaid in like manner.
 

Colleen L. (2)
Friday August 16, 2013, 10:32 pm
I'm very pround of these students. I pray that they keep up the great work. Thanks Kit
 

Lona Goudswaard (61)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 6:51 am
Kudos to these students. I hope their example will make others follow in their footsteps.
 

Kathleen R. (130)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 12:56 pm
noted & read
 
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