Although our current leased facilities have served Re-Member well, the time has come to grow, and design with intention, a new facility for our program.
We currently operate within a footprint that was not designed to accommodate the varied needs of housing volunteers and staff, maintaining vehicles, operating workshops, and gathering with our Lakota neighbors.
In 2010, we purchased a 160-acre parcel of property, just east of Porcupine, South Dakota. This new property — our future home, which we call Feather II — offers dynamic opportunities to further develop our program on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The plan is ambitious and will cost $1.5 million.
We anticipate that Feather II will enable Re-Member to:
- Operate energy-efficient buildings, designed specifically for our program
- Cultivate numerous community gardens, providing fresh vegetables and fruit to community members without ready access to fresh produce
- Provide appropriate and necessary privacy and safety for volunteers and their possessions in stand-alone dorm facilities
- Operate permanent and dedicated space for accepting and distributing donations to community members
- Host large community dinners, furthering our mission of building relationships between volunteers and the Lakota
- Offer permanent housing for all full-time and long-term staff members
- Shelter and maintain the Re-Member vehicle fleet and heavy equipment
- Continue and expand our current work projects to meet our overwhelming requests for assistance
- Partner with other non-profit organizations, state agencies, and individuals on future projects of interest to Re-Member
We Were visitors...
In 1998, a group of passionate and caring individuals traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation wanting to help. We drove volunteers in 15-passenger vans, pickup trucks, and cars. We stayed wherever we could find a place. We were visitors.
We Were tenants...
In the 15 years that followed, we have operated out of rented facilities — a total of 13 different spaces used for volunteer housing, storage, workshops, and offices—always with the possibility of moving whenever buildings or lands were no longer available. We were tenants
....Now We are neighbors.
The time has come that Re-Member is no longer a visitor or a tenant. Now we are neighbors. We want to be allies and advocates who live and work alongside the Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) so long as our help is needed. The information that follows outlines our efforts and why we need your financial support for Feather II. This campaign ensures our successful journey from visitor to neighbor on Pine Ridge Reservation.
Pine Ridge Reservation
The Pine Ridge Reservation spans over 2.8 million beautiful acres and is the second-largest Native American Indian Reservation, yet contains one of the poorest counties in the United States. Conditions exist here that should not exist in the middle of
the wealthiest country on earth. Our volunteers are shocked to see the harsh, third-world living conditions on the Reservation. The population has the second-lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere coupled with staggering high rates of diabetes, alcoholism, and suicide.
On the Rez, extended families and friends often share one home. Such overcrowding leads to a shortage of beds and mattresses, leaving children to share beds and sleep on the floor. Many homes lack running water, functional bathrooms, or kitchens.
To meet the varied and essential needs of the Oglala Lakota people, our programming encompasses:
- Building and delivering bunk beds for children
- Repairing homes, including roofing, siding, and trailer skirting
- Securing and delivering firewood during the winter months
- Installing outhouses
- Building wheelchair ramps for elders
- Helping with community gardens
- Immersing our volunteers in Lakota Culture and teaching Native American history
- Building relationships between staff, volunteers, and the Oglala Lakota people