During the last four years the ThinLine Lakota project has taken on more dimensions than just trying to provide employment for Sioux artists to make horse tack. Our target is The Pine Ridge Indian reservation, South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux. This is the most impoverished area of the United States. The reservation retains 85% unemployment, an average lifespan of 47 years for men and 52 for women, and schools that rank in the bottom 10% of American funding, ThinLine has made a commitment to help through educational and employment assistance. It was noticed that the Wounded Knee Elementary School, serving the most impoverished area of the reservation, was severely lacking in library materials. When we began our book drive they had fewer than 300 books in their entire library.
Within the ThinLine Lakota book drive to date, over 1,500 books and 20 computers have been donated to what is clearly the neediest school in America. As members of the equestrian community, most of the books donated were focused on horsemanship. All well and good but we need many more books geared towards children and education if the children of the Wounded Knee school are to have a chance to participate in future society.
The school has done its part, providing an evening reading program where parents and students can read together. Increased reading ability today means a more literate future work force to attract future employment to the reservation and break the prevailing cycle of despair. Additionally, the elementary school has opened the library to the entire reservation. We at ThinLine originally went to the reservation simply seeking artists who could make American Indian tack for us. We have found a much higher calling, and would appreciate any assistance that can be provided.
ThinLine began this journey with Jim Warson, a notable neurosurgeon, author and Comanche Indian (Tahka Pui). As horsemen and manufacturers of equine products it was our Desire to find a way for this noble Nation to stem the poverty, depression and apathy seen on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 2010.
After centuries of broken treaties, massacres such as Wounded Knee, and ever decreasing amounts of land on which to hunt, farm and sustain a life style the Lakota, most well known for their great horsemanship, began to turn on each other. This is what political oppression does to cultures around the globe. And then we say; “Look at what they are doing to themselves.”
Step by step we at ThinLine will relay what we gave in the way of opportunity, NOT HANDOUTS, to make those thoughts and dreams a reality.
Our first words to the Lakota:
What to do for a people with so much suffering? And people who are the original horsemen. The Lakota were such great horse trainers all the Plains Indians bought their horses from this tribe. But today, isolated in the Black Hills, no such commerce exists.
Join us in the plan we have set forth to change this unacceptable condition. We have a few products just in from the Reservation. Click here to view the products. ThinLine supplies the brow bands or the ThinLine material and pays for the shipping. All the proceeds go to the artisans. Donations do not fix poverty. Work and pride in what you can provide does. We encourage you to make a purchase, allowing us the opportunity to show them their work has value and to hire more and more Native Americans. Thank you in advance.