I've alwasy known that abuse is rampant on the rez. It is just another by-product of the alcoholism that is there and most often it is the children who suffer the effects of alcohol abuse. This year I experienced something that I never have before. We had the children lined up to wait for the next van to come and take them home. As I walked among the kids I heard crying. That is not so uncommon since children will be children and pick on each other. There is no end to the sqabbles that have to be settled with the kids.
As soon as I heard the crying I began looking for where it was coming from and found a 6 or 7 year old girl hiding behind the church crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "Tony. He hurt me". Figuring that Tony was another kid who I had not met yet I began asking her where Tony was so that I could deal with the situation. After pointing to several boys and asking if they were "Tony" she said, "no .... in the white car". I looked up and sure enough there was a white car in the church parking lot waiting to take her home. Through her tears she told me that she did not want to go home with Tony because he hurt her. My blood ran cold and I picked her up and took her to the kitchen where I held her for a long while and assured her that she would not be going home with Tony that day. Later her mother came to pick her up and I release her not knowing what she would face when she got back to the village. Once she was gone I made for the bathroom to cry on a friend's shoulder because I just couldn't deal with that.
The next day while doing a Kool Aide run through the village I noticed the same white car parked in her driveway. When she came to VBS that day she was sporting a fist-sized briuse on her cheek.
The hardest thing for me is to see the abuse, the hopelessness, the poverty there and not be able to do a thing about it. I want to fix it all, or at least part of it but I cannot. In other places in the USA we can report suspected child abuse and in fact are required to do so, but on the rez it is different. We are not in our own nation but in a soverign nation on US soil. The rules are different there. All we can do is pray and let the children know that while they are at church they are safe and they are loved. Not being able to do anything else, I made sure that little girl laughed and had a blast on the swings that day. At least for a while she had some joy and hopefully a memory of being cared for.
- My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.