My Pine Ridge Volunteer Trip by Kim Olivieri
Our family spent a week at Re-Member in July of 2019. It was a fantastic week for all of us – me and my 15 year old daughter, 16 year old son and 17 year old niece. The week was a mix of work on various housing projects and Lakota cultural immersion activities. One of the highlights included learning about Lakota history and culture from the nightly speakers. We all left the reservation with a new perspective on American history and a greater sense of understanding and compassion for the Native people.
We also enjoyed meeting new people both from the Lakota community and the other volunteers from around the country. We were fortunate to spend time with local artisans and even some of the former Lakota YouthStay participants and their families who visited ReMember on community night. We bonded with our work crews over shared goals at our work site projects – building bunk beds, skirting trailers and preparing the ground for the community garden at Re-Member’s new site, Feather II. We were amazed by the breathtaking landscape of the prairies and the contrasting majesty of the Badlands on our tour days.
Spending a week on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a “vacation” like no other – you will be awed and inspired by the beauty and resilience of the people and the land. Your time on Rez will provoke a myriad of emotions but will ultimately be a moving and rewarding experience.