Wopila “BIG Thank you”
To all who helped with the truck!
It was an awesome day in Lakota Country and Nebraska where a very important event happened. It was the delivery truck arrival that we have all been trying to raise funds for. The truck is officially in Lakota Country, the wood program on the western side of the reservation has been in a stale mate and now that’s about to change for the better. We all know it was needed for these programs and thanks to ONE Spirit donors it is a dream come true. Special Thanks to Jeri Baker and to all the wonderful ONE Spirit people who made the truck possible. Thanks also to Tad King for finding the very truck we needed.
2006 Chevy Silverado, Heavy Duty, 3/4 Ton Crew Cab, 4X4, with only 90,000 miles!
It has been for years that I have been a wood cutter and I am looking forward to assisting ONE Spirit with the wood program and continuing with the food program. The rugged back country and many years of great duty had its toll on the former work truck that we used. It seemed like the day was unreal when it came down to getting the truck. I hitched a ride with a friend and one of my assistants in the Indian Action Garage team, Malcolm Hawk Wing. We would be meeting Linda and Tad King who found the truck at a dealership near Lincoln, Nebraska. It was right in the path of the big winter storm coming and the delivery would be delayed a couple of days. It was good to know the truck was there, though. After a morning contact via the internet it was agreed to meet Tad and Lynda at Valentine, Nebraska. They would bring the truck most of the way. We really need more people like our ONE Spirit sponsors in the world. We really want to give thanks to the many sponsors who donated through the web site widget. It all really added up and your sponsorship will be helping a lot of Lakota families.
The Buffalo approve of the truck!
The food program will be able to relax a bit as this truck situation had been a sore spot. The main truck was down and now with a better truck our delivery will go a lot better. The impact this truck will have could be measured in the smiles on the faces of those who receive food or wood each month. Also the youth of the New Warrior camps throughout the summer months will greatly appreciate the new safe truck. In a way I believe this truck is like a rescue truck. I know a lot of the time ONE Spirit gets a call it's usually a very serious situation. It could be someone really in need has missed the food delivery day, or someone is out of wood and a snowstorm is coming. Whatever the situation was with the old truck, it was an added danger. The new truck is a safety vehicle and a rescue vehicle too, to be able to help the Lakota. We urgently needed this truck and Tad King and Jeri Baker did a great job shopping for it. They didn't get just any truck - it was nicely selected for the application. As I drove it back to the reservation yesterday I found nothing I didn't like about it. The truck is a great tool for delivery application out in Indian Country. This is a really nice truck for our ONE Spirit operations on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Here is a brief explanation of how our new truck will help our programs.
The ONE Spirit Food Program
The food program is our first and foremost area of operation, and our drivers are a life link between ONE Spirit and the valued sponsors from all over the world. I have been here getting close to 9 months and have really had to stay closer to Pine Ridge and now with the new truck it’s time to go out and visit the families out in the districts. I do have many friends all over this reservation and seeing our people would be wonderful. I am looking forward to food day more than ever. It will be nice to go out and help deliver in the areas where sometimes drivers have continued delivery problems and actually give you a firsthand report and accountability of certain situations. I know that you as sponsors would like our drivers to be on target. and now we have an actual backup vehicle in case someone misses a family. We can actually make that trip out and get that food to them. However, we are still enforcing a strict 100% delivery effort with our drivers who still miss a target family once in a while. We are still working to improve our success rate. For our delivery and food program we have some very dedicated drivers who are committed to getting the food to our sponsored families.
The ONE Spirit Wood Program, western Pine Ridge area
If there was an area that I am interested in; it’s helping ONE Spirit with the wood program. I have many reasons and the first one is the resource availability. I live west of Pine Ridge, the agency headquarters of our reservation. We had two really big fires in the last 6 years. One was in 2007, the Stampede Fire. This fire was actually named after my place because I have a small ranch garage out here, it is called the Stampede Garage. When the fire first started, the fire trucks had to drive through our land to get to the fire, hence the name “Stampede Fire” was given. This fire burned 23,000 acres. This past summer we saw another unusually big fire, the “Wellnitz Fire”. It was a really huge fire burning 100,000 acres. The reason I am mentioning this is because of all the dead wood areas near my place. The wood will rot and go to waste if we don’t make good use of it now or when it dries. Some of it actually won’t be dry till next fall. We have got salvage wood permits and are ready to start cutting now. Our best efforts will be seen during the over the summer build up. However, our efforts will be over the course of this winter, too. We started to prepare as we waited for snowy areas to melt out a little. It is a little tricky this time of the year as we have snow on the ground and falling now. Then as it melts we get too warm and we will be dealing with mud. Early morning the ground is frozen and you can go out in the hills and get to the wood. You do have to get back on a dry area before the warming rays of the sun thaw out the ground. Some areas are better than others for wood cutting; however this is how it is in our area.
It was this year just recently that we started the wood program in the western side of the reservation. We were lucky to have Tad and Lynda King come into the scene. They helped with the log splitter, chain saw and the truck. Also the many donors who helped make this possible. No matter whether you gave $5 or $5000 I say Wopila Tanka “Big Thank you” to all of our awesome wonderful sponsors again. It will be great when you can see the results of all of your efforts coming with each of my reports.
Edge of spring in Lakota Country
We are now on the downhill run towards spring and we also would like thank our sponsors of the Food Program for sticking with your sponsorship commitment and helping our people through this winter. I call it a commitment because after I saw all the food that actually comes in on the truck and trailer, wow, it’s a big commitment. Our people have a sacred way of doing things and it goes by the number four. We have four seasons, colors, and the four directions. I would ask you to hang in there with us as a Lakota Commitment of four years. It could be a goal to strive for. The Lakota people here pray a lot and you are first in their prayers. The Ceremonies are very powerful here where the prayers sent to the creator and messages carried deep into the spirit world. Our ancestors have sent you for a reason, could it be that your Great, Great Grandfather was in fact also a friend of the Lakota, whatever the reason, it’s a good reason and we are that much happy that you sponsors have chosen to help our people. Jeri Baker and ONE Spirit have gone way out of the way to do the very best for you and together you all have done great with this commitment to the Lakota. I have seen the positive impact of your efforts, in our homelands, in our villages and back country dwellers.
The commitment with prayer is one of the most powerful ways to blend with one’s surroundings. “Our ancestors could be standing next to you, and yours standing next to us. It is a beautiful day when we are all ONE Spirit.” It could be four years, months or days this would be great, hopefully, it isn’t just four days, though. Anything and everything helps here. It is a sacred number and it is said that when you do it this way the Great Spirit brings it with many more blessings back to you. I am thankful again for I have seen the effects first hand and though sometimes I’m saddened at the rough situation of struggle I see, it is a very happy day when delivering your sponsored food. Happiness goes a long way here where even though times are tough our people can persevere.
I have lived here amongst my people the Lakota all of my life and I feel the same way just about everyone else does about life. The winters can be very harsh, there is enough here to worry about with our economy. Then to have a winter storm roll in on us, it changes everything especially for those who live out in the country side. The arctic cold can freeze the pipes in a house, too. There is a stress factor to winter for the people here and everyone who has learned reservation life lessons learns to watch the news for the weather updates. Although there are struggles here there is also victory, too. Our home town girl's basketball team, the Pine Ridge Lady Thorpes, are 11-1 and probably headed for the state tournament. Everyone is sure proud of our Lady Thorpes. I know all of the girls on the team and they know me. I have to say I am really proud of them. One cold winter night the whole High School was at the Indian Action Garage. They had nowhere to go and it was cold outside. I was proud to see all the Lady Thorpes basketball players out there. My youngest son Mat is a senior at Pine Ridge High and he is also one of our drivers. What it all amounts to is ONE Spirit and all the sponsors have a lot of friends in Lakota Country.
I have seen one really tough part that was really tougher than anything I have seen here going from door to door. One day I got an email forwarded from Jeri. It was from a sponsor who's family got missed. I think the family may have got missed twice in a row, and the sponsor was not going to sponsor anymore. It said the sponsor had given up on the food program. It was at a time when we were actually trying to solve these kinds of situations. We were at the edge of a solution for this situation, the answer was a truck, and well it is here. Maybe it was tough for the sponsor to understand the real effort going on over here. As head of the food program here on the reservation ONE Spirit had a fund drive for a truck for the food program so I can back up our drivers. Well, most of the drivers are driving vehicles in just as tough condition as what I was driving. Anyway, the feeling was really sad to see that email. Here it is best I can explain, we are here doing our best for our people whom you all want to help, all good. It’s an awesome bright day, now here’s the part that’s hard “We are seeing the smiles and tears, and then the email said “I lost hope in the food program. I am not going to sponsor anymore.” We are still standing at the doors in the neighborhoods where that family can see us and know there will really be nothing for them now. I hope for that family now! If there is a way, I will see that they aren't forgotten even though the sponsor folded. In the Vietnam War there were soldiers who were left behind. This isn't Vietnam. We will not leave anyone behind, we got the truck now. Thank you sponsors with my heart.
These are my thoughts and report. I am ready to help always and very glad to work with Jeri Baker and all of you at ONE Spirit.
Charles “Bamm” Brewer ONE Spirit rep., Crazy Horse Ride founder, Holy Buffalo Society, Youth activity coordinator, New Warrior Camp Director, Buffalo Rancher