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Diane Sawyer goes to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. MUST READ!

Right here, in the heart of American beauty, in the shadows of Mount Rushmore, American children face unthinkable despair – living, surviving – in a world that’s been hidden from us in plain sight…but, Friday night that changes.  Now, travel with Diane Sawyer to a place time forgot, where the proudest Americans living in unthinkable conditions refuse to be defeated…
Meet the dreamers and survivors of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Reservation Child’s Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack.

By ELISSA STOHLER | ABC News – 13 hrs ago

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  • Reservation Child's Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack (ABC News)

    Reservation Child’s Wish: Fresh Water, Bubble Gum and a Backpack (ABC News)

When ABC News first met little Tashina Iron Horse, she was 5 years old, a chatty and vivacious kindergartener. Now she’s 6, in the first grade, and she tells us she wants Justin Bieber to be her boyfriend. If she could, she’d ask President Obama for “Fresh water…and bubble gum…and a backpack.” She wants to grow up to be a police officer, a career choice inspired by her mother Bobbie, who works long hours as a security guard.

Tashina lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where most of the 30,000 to 40,000 residents identify as Oglala Lakota Sioux and boast of a rich cultural history and deep-seated spirituality. Located in the southwest corner of South Dakota, Pine Ridge is one of the 565 federally recognized Indian Nations in the United States. It is also one of the poorest.

Pine Ridge residents live amid poverty that rivals that of the third world. Forty-seven percent of the Pine Ridge population lives below the federal poverty level, 65 percent to 80 percent of the adults are unemployed, and rampant alcoholism and an obesity epidemic combine with underfunded schools to make it a rough place to grow up. Tashina lives in government housing in Manderson, 30 minutes north of downtown Pine Ridge. She lives with her grandmother, parents, siblings and uncles – sometimes up to 19 people live in the three-bedroom house, which has seen better days.

In the decades following President John F. Kennedy’s pledge to fund public housing projects on American Indian reservations, a construction boom began in Pine Ridge. Today, most of these units built in the 1970s and 1980s are in varying degrees of disrepair – a result, critics say, of steep cuts to the Housing and Urban Development budget made by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Public housing dollars today are largely spent battling black mold in reservation housing rather than constructing new homes.

Amid the despair, there are youth across the reservation — like Tashina — who are breaking through the hopelessness with huge dreams and powerful stories.

So that she can be a competitive dancer at the pow wows, Tashina sports beautifully hand-crafted outfits made by her Uncle Matthew. Matthew is a senior in high school who lovingly hand-sews and beads Tashina’s pow wow regalia: shawls, moccasins, hair pieces, and dresses. At the pow wows, Matthew is constantly at Tashina’s side: practicing with her and helping her get into costume.

Learn more about Tashina and the challenges she and other Pine Ridge children face Friday at 10 p.m. ET on “Hidden America: Children of the Plains,” a 20/20 special. Check out a sneak peek — Tashina teaches Diane Sawyer some of her moves — below.

Closing Coldwater for a year say NO, we need our sacred water.

1) A letter about what’s happening at Coldwater addressed to the National Park Service regional director in Nebraska is now up at the Friends of Coldwater website. PCCC is listed as as getting a copy of this letter with photos. Please go to www.friendsofcoldwater.org to see the letter and all the photos that just went up on the website.

2) Via the grapevine we heard today that the National Park Service plans to close the Coldwater property beginning this November for a year. We have not been notified of the plan to close Coldwater. We are concerned about unilateral closing without notification and without any process to insure access to the water.

This Sunday morning, Oct 9, there will be a meeting at Barb Nimis’ office/the MMDC office at 10 am, in Mendota. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the proposed closing of Coldwater to the public. Since this is Barb’s home and office, and it’s small, if you would like to attend the Sunday morning meeting would you kindly email Barb at bnimis@yahoo.com so we can plan for chairs. Maybe bring a chair and prepare to chat outside. You might recall that when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed Coldwater we ended up in federal court for a year and a half on the 1805 Treaty case, before they dropped the charges.

You can email the Mendota office too – mendotadakota@gmail.com, or call 651-452-4141

BB. Susu