The mission, which I choose to accept: Deliver the trees safety to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and help plant them!
We landed at the Solar Center safety and unloaded the truck in under an hour. It was an incredible day with soaring temperatures and a clear aqua sky, perfect planting weather, I thought. It dropped down to about 34 that night and gave me a taste for the High Plains chill that was not yet the summer I was experiencing back in Arizona! Reacclimating to winter-like weather during the evenings and building super sexy fires to keep me warm while grilling dinner and making tea at night became a cherished norm at my tiny home site. Early evenings and adjusting to "Native Time" work mornings felt very familiar to me, kinda like being back on Georgia time; Things happen when they happen.
I can only attempt a description for you of the Peace that comes with the curvaceous Buffalo fields of Pine Ridge Reservation. A never ending breeze of epic vastness which rolls until the luscious Black Hills crest in the distance, defending upon the Badlands, past where the Eye can see. The solidarity of your being connected hoe-dad deep to the nuts, as you break into Mother Earth, gracefully yet forcefully, to deposit each Pine Sapling.. Knowing the Roots of Love being spread are for the future inhabitants on this exquisite soaring space goddess we call Earth; Time ceases.
Tasty buffallo stew for lunch break, Gran-pa's Sage and about 2 solid weeks of Incredible tree planting weather was all we needed to get over 12,000 Pines back on Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge suffered from major forest fires which wiped out over 20,000 acres of trees and grazing land over 3 years ago. The effort by TWP is to reforest Pine Ridge with 1,000,000 trees: "That’s why we’re working to help put the “pine” back in Pine Ridge! Planting the ponderosas will improve air and water quality, reduce soil erosion, re-establish wildlife habitat, enhance ecosystem resiliency, and sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gases all while engaging Native Americans in the protection of their lands. ~TWP BLOG POST EXCERPT
Along with Pine Ridge's Trees, an effort was made to deliver 2,500 pines to Thunder Valley to strengthen and grow the humanitarian network among the Natives of the area. These pines were planted quickly and through video taken, are communicating the efforts of the Native teams and Networks being developed to get others involved on multiple levels. I foresee years of continued co-operation which is helping the area to overcome the years of being the most impoverished area in the whole USA! A drive through the town of Wounded Knee, known for a devastating massacre, imprinted the vibe of the Tribes through time. It's as if rewinding dimensionally until you arrived back to the resistance and heart of Human suffering which has endured and only begun to heal; how I imagine Earth feels about humankind in general.
Last but not the least was an incredible project installing a tree wind break on a property where an Earth block house is being constructed for Paul Peltier, the son of Political Prisoner and activist Leonard Peltier. _Read about the Incident at Oglala to learn more about Feds and the controversy of Human Rights. Back in 1999, Twisters ripped through Pine Ridge, and destroyed multiple houses and wrecked enough havoc for FEMA to declare a state of emergency. Temporary trailer shelters were delivered, and then...nothing. FEMA did nothing else to help. An initiative was developed to try and bring some closure to a family still suffering from this tragedy. I hope to come back in 5 years or so and see this windbreak growing strong!
If you would like to help Pine Ridge Tree planting efforts, HERE is the current fund raising effort! Each Steel Drum, Starseed and piece of artwork in inventory will currently be going towards this cause until the GOAL is Reached!