PINE RIDGE RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) – For two weeks now, KELOLAND News has brought you the stories of dozens of Indigenous People who have gone missing or been killed. Their cases going unsolved and their families begging for answers.
We’ve also told you the jurisdictional barriers and lack of resources that play a role in making these cases difficult to solve.
Now, a Pine Ridge grandmother wishes for how to make the land she loves safer.
The Pine Ridge Reservation stretches to around 2.1 million acres. On that land resides the Oglala Sioux Nation. And though the land they live on is beautiful, it is stained with violence and heartbreak.
“Being 61 years old and living my life on the reservation, most of my life was there, you want change,” Wilson said. “You want to have better things, especially with grandkids. You want to have a better way of life.”
Holly Wilson lost two grandsons at the beginning of the year. In the middle of grieving and looking for answers, she’s also thinking of the changes she’d like to see to her homeland.
One of those changes is as simple as a park.
“We don’t have those on Pine Ridge,” Wilson said. “We’re very limited. So we’d like to develop a park, people can maybe donate a bench in memory of their family member but we’d like a place safe for kids to come, for families come.”
Or really any place where kids can just go and be kids safely.
“We don’t have a public library. A library is a good place. A good place for kids to use their minds and just go places, even if it’s just with books,” Wilson said.
She’d also like to see the issue of meth on the reservation addressed with more education.
“Now we have grandparents that are getting evicted from housing because their houses are tested meth positive – they have no idea the kids are using that,” Wilson said. “Because they don’t know what to see, what to watch for.”
Wilson says some change is in the works already, though, and it was brought forward because of her grandson.
“It’s going to be called ‘Logan’s Law’ and so that’s a first. And that’s good and I’m really proud of that,” Wilson said. “It’s sad that Logan had to die to wake up people in key positions to say, ‘hey we need to have our own gun safety.”
The law is still being developed, but Wilson says it would be the first gun safety measure for the reservation.
“We certainly will not have a future if we keep going like this and we don’t address it,” Wilson said.
Our KELOLAND News crew met up with Holly Wilson in Rapid City.
That’s where they met another grandmother from the Pine Ridge Reservation — Norma Rendon.
“Women are powerful. There is nothing wrong with saying that. We are powerful. We are beautiful.”Norma Rendon, a Pine Ridge grandmother
She’d like to see change in the way of undoing the dehumanization of Native women that Rendon says has been happening since colonization.
For more MMIP coverage from KELOLAND News, click here.