The Pine Ridge Reservation

Flag of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe (Approved by the Tribal Council on March 9, 1962)
Flag of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe (Approved by the Tribal Council on March 9, 1962)

The Great Lakota Nation

South Dakota, the land of the great Lakota Nation, is home to nine (9) Indian Reservations:

Eurythmy (portrait)

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Key Facts & Figures

The Lakota Waldorf School sits in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (PRIR) – home to the federally recognized tribe of the Oglala Lakota people known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST). Listed below are facts and figures about the reservation and its people that help to give a fuller picture of the importance of LWS’s indigenous mission. [NOTE: The facts and figures stated are taken from 2018-2020 state, federal, and tribal data sources.]

Without a doubt, the level of poverty at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is abject, and its related problems are complex. And, like many other Indian reservations in North America, these issues are rooted in America’s colonial history and the US government’s attempt to dominate indigenous people.

However, the Oglala Lakota Tribe continues to stand as a sovereign nation (recognized by the US Constitution) and finds strength in its  cultural traditions and history. For the Lakota people, this rich history includes the enduring legacies of tribal chiefs and medicine men like Tasunke Witko (Crazy Horse), American Horse, Red Cloud, Young Man Afraid of His Horse, Little Wound, Fools Crow, Black Elk, Black Crow, Kills Ree, and Big Road. 

In addition, inspiration and encouragement for the future is being generated today by tribal members who are activists, educators, writers, artists, and more. Some notable examples that are listed alphabetically by last name include: Arthur Amiotte (Artist, Historian, Educator), Reginia Brave (Activist), Keith Braveheart (Artist), Scotti Cliff (Singer-Songwriter), Kirie Irving (Basketball Player), Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota Poet, Writer, and Artist), Billy Mills (Track Runner /1964 Olympic Champion), Kevin and Valerie Pourier (Artists), Buddy Red Bow (Musician and Actor), Delphine Red Shirt (Author, Educator), Sean Sherman (Sioux Chef and co-author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen), JoAnn Tall (Environmental Activist), and Dwayne Wilcox (Artist).

LWS’s long-term vision is that our students, empowered by their indigenous-Waldorf education, will also contribute to the future of the Lakota people.

"The ones that matter the most are the children." Lakota Proverb
“The Lakota children are called “wakanyeja” – little sacred ones. …Children are the hope of a nation...”
Lakota Waldorf School Site Icon
Delphine Red Shirt (Oglala Lakota), Ph.D

Red Shirt is an author and lecturer in Native American studies and the Special Languages Program (Lakota) at Stanford University.

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