ROSEBUD INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) — A family’s grief upon the loss of a loved one is intense, but processing the death of a young person can be especially agonizing. Amanda Arcoren of St. Francis, South Dakota remembers her brother Patrick as “outgoing”; she even named her son after him.
“He was my motivation to get my high school diploma, to get a car, to get an apartment,” Amanda said. “He was the person I looked up to.”
Patrick’s mother Sharon Bear Robe of St. Francis remembers Patrick as a happy boy; someone who, she says, “enjoyed life.”
“He was trying to sober up,” Bear Robe said. “He’s been staying home.”
One night in 2020, when Patrick was just 22, Sharon received heartbreaking news.
“He said, ‘Mom, you better get up, the cops and the feds are outside,’ so I said, ‘For what?'” Bear Robe said. “And I jumped up. I took off running to the door, they came in, and they asked me, ‘Sharon you need to sit down, we need to talk to you.’ So I said, ‘No, no no no.’ They said, ‘Sharon, sit down, we need to talk to you,’ so I said, ‘No, you tell me what’s going on. I need to know what’s going on.'”
She never imagined what she’d hear next.
“‘Patrick’s dead,'” Bear Robe said. “I said, ‘No, no no no.'”
Bear Robe says Patrick and another person were trying to break into a house near St. Francis to get drugs when Patrick was shot.
“It don’t get any easier for me,” Bear Robe said. “I miss my baby so much.”
She says her son lost his life because of drugs.
“Young boys like my son, they got so much to live for than to be on drugs, alcohol,” Bear Robe said.
Rodney Bordeaux, former president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, says meth is a huge problem in the community.
“Oh, it’s tearing it apart,” Bordeaux said. “It’s just causing problems with children being left, children being abused.”
But even though her son is gone, this mother is not upset with the person who pulled the trigger.
“I don’t feel any kind of hate, anger, nothing for that guy that shot my son, ’cause it wasn’t his fault,” Bear Robe said. “I really felt for him.”
She also feels for all of the other people who could end up in a situation like Patrick.
“A lot of these young boys out here that are my son’s age … do something with themselves,” Bear Robe said. “Get off drugs, better your life. They got so much to live for, so much … That’s what I wanted for my son. He was so young.”
Dan Santella: Do you think you’re going to stay here and live here and raise your son here?
“I hope not,” Amanda Arcoren said.
Dan Santella: Why not?
“Because the way I see it is the rez is home, but it’s not forever going to be home, and the way it is, like it’s really bad, and I don’t want my kids growing up in this type of situation,” Arcoren said.