Travel Tales – PINE RIDGE LAKOTA SIOUX RESERVATION
Drove today from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation, via the Bandlands Nat. Park. My van parked for the evening in a field behind a Lakota-owned restaurant and motel in the middle of the reservation.
Prairie thunderstorm raging outside. I’m on high ground, but a ranger today said yesterday, several trucks were blown over in the Interstate. Not much wind. The photo below is of a ruined building is in the ghost town (real) of Scenic, SD., a few miles from the reservation border.
Alcohol is forbidden on the reservation, so little places like this can still be found in a few places near the reservation border– luring natives over for just one little drinkie. White Clay Nebraska, just over the SD line is a thorn in the side of the reservation, but the tribal government can do nothing. Nebraska enjoys substantial tax revenue from alcohol sales to native-Americans. When implored to close that store. the Nebraska legislature says, no… ‘it’s a free country- don’t tell us what to do!’
US history is filled with hatred of the native populations. Many immigrants thought the native peoples were savages and vermin that needed total extermination to allow Christian European theft, exploitation, and ultimately destruction of the pristine lands where natives had lived and prospered 6,000 years. There are still numerous signs of friction, bitterness, and exploitation between white immigrants and natives today. But all the natives I met were friendly, helpful, open, and easy-going.
I’d like to go back. And they asked me to.