The Tipi Raisers
2014 saw our 5th Anniversary and to celebrate the event we held a Christmas party for fundraisers, office staff and management. We also saw this as a great opportunity to hold a fundraising event for the Tipi Raisers — a very small charity based around the Pine Ridge Native American reservation in South Dakota, which is home to the Lakota Sioux people. The Tipi Raisers work on collaborative projects, aiming to bring ‘homes, employment, pride and revitalization of culture to the reservations’.
The reality of life at Pine Ridge is very different from our perception of the easy American lifestyle we see in film or TV. There is 80% unemployment because there are simply no jobs, and consequently, 49% of people live below the poverty line. Housing is often overcrowded and lacking basic facilities like electricity or running water. Drug addiction and alcoholism affect many families and average life expectancy is between 50 and 66 years. The suicide rate is 3 times higher than the U.S. average and a high proportion of these suicides are young people in their teens.
The Tipi Raisers work on a variety of cultural and practical projects for the whole community; providing winter fuel and bedding for the elders, involving young people in Native American traditional dance, and providing work for the unemployed. They are currently rebuilding an old ski lodge which was donated to the charity and will be used as a visitor and community centre. Their long-term project is to provide new homes for the hundreds of families who desperately need them.
Our fundraising event raised over £1300 ($2000) for the Tipi Raisers, and we’ll be helping more in the future.