We’ve been on the Cheyenne River Reservation for a number of days and just spent the last few on Pine Ridge. In both locations we’ve noticed change. On a statistical level Ziebach county of Cheyenne River is now the poorest county in the nation, bumping Shannon County of Pine Ridge to second. On an infrastructural level, Alltel cellular service has been replaced by a major carrier, AT&T. Our cell phones now work, when near a tower. High speed Internet is available on much of Pine Ridge. On Cheyenne River, it has made it to Eagle Butte, the center of the reservation, and is expected to reach the rest of the population in the next few years. Our hosts, who live on a rural scatter site, joke that they will receive Internet before running water. After a conversation with Tri-County water, we have confirmed that this is true.
On Cheyenne River, we have been visiting with old friends, gone to a Sundance and followed up with various agencies including the Cheyenne River Housing Authority, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tri-County Water.
On Pine Ridge, we’ve been visiting our friend Bryan who runs the non-profit organization OLCERI. He showed us his holistic management and permaculture techniques in action on his pasture land and we’ve been brainstorming about several projects.
We visited a “pallet house” construction site near the town of Pine Ridge and a straw bale house workshop at Henry Red Cloud’s Lakota Solar Enterprises. We will follow up with a more in-depth description of the various amazing and unique projects we have seen.
Favorite quote of the day: “lol even texts are on Indian time out here”