Women Creating Empowerment Project 2018
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota spans 3,468.85 square miles and is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It is the poorest county in the United States. Ninety-seven percent of the population lives far below the federal poverty line with a $2,600- $3,500 median household annual income. 57,000 people live on the reservation, and 40% of the population is under the age of 18.
Teenage suicide on the reservation is 150% times higher than the U.S national average, alcoholism affects an estimated 85% of families, and methamphetamine addiction is another severe problem among the youth on reservations, with local FBI offices around the reservation estimating that 40 - 50% of the violent crime cases they investigate involving the drug.
Rape and sexual abuse statistics for indigenous women and on the reservation are astronomical, though specific rape statistics for reservations in South Dakota are difficult to come by, given “differences in reporting procedures” (as reported by state representatives). According to FBI statistics, 445 forcible rapes were reported in 2009, which didn’t even include the rates of statutory rapes. It’s also been noted by the Justice Department that while indigenous peoples make up only 10 percent of the population in South Dakota, but account for 40 percent of the victims of sexual assault.
According to a study published by the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, national teen pregnancy rates are declining, but Pine Ridge, SD is bucking the trend with the highest incidence of teen births in the country. Lack of access to medical care, contraceptives, state-banned abortion, and shaming from within their community; is causing pregnant Native teens to be less likely to seek prenatal care.
The youth population of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is ignored and underserved. There is support at IHS facilities but it is too limited for the dire needs of the people of Pine Ridge. When a person tries to commit suicide they are sent to Rapid City, South Dakota Regional Health Behavioral Health Center. It can take anywhere from 76-106 miles to reach this facility due to the size of the reservation which is 3,468.85 square miles and is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
There are only three women’s health clinics for sexual health services, birth control, prenatal care and sexual assault education and the nearest Planned Parenthood is 347 miles away in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Our Pine Ridge Indian Reservation youth experience multiple chronic crises and I want to offer solutions to my peers.
To address the crisis’ affecting the youth on our reservation, I created, and am Director of, the Seeding Sovereignty’s new Women Creating Empowerment Project for young women living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, launching this summer! I want to fill the gaps and connect young women with immediate solutions for the systemic problems they face. Our new project centers on 12 dynamic, 3-day peer-to-peer workshops running from June through October 2018.
In these workshops we will be discussing topics like empowerment, mental/emotional health, drug/alcohol abuse, physical/mental abuse, sexual health and voting.
We will provide sisterhood, informative materials, skill-sharing and skill-building opportunities, and the necessary tools for young indigenous women from the reservation to build self-love; empowering them to become community leaders. Our goal is that each youth attendee will walk away with resources, information, and a new community close to home where they feel safe, important, heard, and seen.
We as youth have so much to teach each other, and I believe that it is our job to make a difference, and to do it now. We needed to create our own options and we have.
We are excited about these workshops but need support. Each of the 12 workshops serves 20 youth and we are looking for partners!
A. Would you like to adopt a workshop? Each workshop costs $935.
B. Can you help us provide items to workshop attendees?
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community shops, like those on all reservations, perpetuates unhealthy food and lifestyle choices. We want to expose our newest generation to products that don’t harm the environment, animals, or our bodies. Through products that respect our environment, we hope to empower our young attendees to take charge of their physical, reproductive, and sexual health, as well as their voices. Your donations of the following would be greatly appreciated:
Natural makeup and brushes
Organic hair products
Organic body products
Female and male condoms
Recycled paper notebooks and writing utensils
Organic teas and healthy food choices for attendees
Reusable plates, bowls, and eating utensils
Your donations can be mailed to:
290 Empowerment Drive
Porcupine, SD 57772
Questions or comments?
Janet MacGillivray-Wallace Esq.
Follow us on social media to stay updated!
@SeedSovereignty - Twitter
1st workshop- June 6th- June 9th
2nd workshop- June 18th- June 20th
3rd workshop- July 3rd- July 5th
4th workshop- July 18th-July 20th
5th workshop- July 22nd- July 24th
6th workshop- August 10th- August 12th
7th workshop- August 24th- August 26th
8th workshop- September 7th- September 9th
9th workshop- September 21st- September 23rd
10th workshop- October 5th- October 7th
11th workshop- October 19th- October 21st
12th workshop- November 2nd- November 4th
My name is Andreanne Catt. I am an 18 year old Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota and Eastern Band Cherokee from Cherokee, North Carolina. I am a youth organizer for Seeding Sovereignty, a women led organization that reunifies indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. We work to bridge the knowledge gaps between; youth and elders, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and take on the vital tasks of traditional knowledge revitalization and environmental protection.