The Pine Ridge Reservation, the current home of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, has been suffering from a plague of poverty and violence since the people were forced onto the reservation more than a century ago. Their traditional hunter gatherer life became impossible and their rich cultural practices and even the use of their language were violently suppressed by the authorities.
Today there is still virtually no infrastructure and Alcoholism rate is estimated 80 %. Almost nine out of ten adults are unemployed. Children often go hungry and adults die young, the severe side effects of alcohol and drug addiction.
In 2009 and now again in 2015, the reservation declared a Suicide State of Emergency. On the first 110 days of 2013, Pine Ridge saw 100 attempted suicides by youth as young as 6 years old. From the end of December 2014 through February, 2015, nine young people took their own lives, and more than 100 attempted suicide. The youngest to die was 12 years old.
The young people that are still alive need your help fast!
Huge scientific evidence has been found in the past few years that the actual cause of addiction (and thus all the horrible side effects for children of addicts, that directly affect the young generation) is a lack of connection. Even substances that are as aggressive as heroine can be left alone again easily (like after intake as a medical treatment) when people feel connected and well held in their lives. Professor Peter Cohen is quoted in a recent Huffington Post article, that if human beings can’t connect with anything healthy (like people or nature) they would connect with anything they can find – the prick of a syringe or a bottle of booze. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction‘ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ An alcohol addict has bonded with alcohol because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.
“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is connection“, writes author Johann Hari.
With your help, we will be able to break the vicious cycle of disconnected teens growing into adults that are falling for addiction like many generations before them, which would take away their capacity to provide connection for their own children.
The Connection and Healing Camphas been created to help the youth and families to heal from the wounds of the past and come into a new relationship with themselves, people, and nature – through the traditional connection that the Lakota ancestors had with the land and creation.
The participants will have the opportunity to find the very nourishment for their souls which has been longed for by the past generations for such a long time.
During the Connection and Healing Camp the participants will be immersed in a village-like community which will focus on how to bring a deeper sense of connection into their lives on all levels. The foundation of the camps’ activities is based on the indigenous techniques and practices of the pre-reservation Lakota culture.Included in the activities of the camp will be the following:
The use of“Deep Nature Connection” core routines – for grounding people on the land, an important step to build resilience in dealing with the devastating everyday life problems in the reservation
Teaching in thebasics of survival skills and simple sustainable living off the land – for building self-confidence and inner strength
Lakotaancestral style homes and living – for honoring the beauty and power of their cultural heritage
Advanced Connection Practices and techniques which are culturally applicable even in the modern context – that can be used preventative as well as in times of acute crises and stress in order to regain balance and inner peace
Community of Connection Immersion – for building the human connections that will step by step heal what has been broken, so that the passing down of the old wounds from one generation to the next can come to a halt.
Restoring a Mentoring Culture so that the people will be enabled to pass the teachings and experiences they gain on to their peers as well as younger generations during future camps.
Salvatore Gencarelle is a cultural bridge between Lakota healing ceremonies and the modern world. His intensive mentoring period required both dedication and sacrifice, spending 17 years as a ceremonial guide, creator, singer, and mentor under the direct supervision of a Native American healer. It was through this process he earned the responsibility to pass the teachings on.