FOOD             FIRE             WATER             SHELTER             PEOPLE             SPIRIT             SELF



Our people are of a beautiful culture. Our strength through adversity defines us, and our family strengthens us. The Lakota Oyate have survived many hardships through many generations, and we have evolved with the changing world around us. We are a resilient tribe and believe our people can thrive once again.

Though the Lakota have survived many tribulations throughout history, it is clear that the struggle is not over. Our once-strong tribal community is, in many ways, broken due to the social realities we face today — including alcoholism, generations of broken homes, and still-prevalent oppression. The failing education system, the 85-95% unemployment rate, and the alarmingly high suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation are just a few consequences of the disharmony between Western social norms and traditional culture.

We at OLCERI don’t aspire to singlehandedly defeat the obstacles and injustices our people are up against. We do, however, hope to sow some of the seeds that can empower a healthier community to flourish organically over time. We hope to create opportunities and environments that inspire people to better themselves, creating a ripple effect throughout the community.

One of the most meaningful ways we can contribute to the healing of our people is in working to bridge the gaps in education. While the existing education system in Pine Ridge aims to build a foundation in Western subjects {e.g. science, language, arithmetic, etc.}, it fails to equip our youth with practical skills and is void of traditional wisdom. By hosting independent courses and workshops, we are able to help preserve the rich Lakota culture by facilitating the passing of knowledge, customs and traditions from our elders to the youth. We can also draw from our network of experts to teach youth and adults useful skills such as:

• Wilderness and primitive skills
• Nature awareness
• Wild edible/medicinal plants
• Farming, ranching and gardening
• Natural building
• Welding
• Woodworking

As we further develop our cottage industries, we’ll also be able to provide much-needed employment opportunities, accelerating the positive change within our community.