Things to Bring on Mission Trips

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Here are some typical things to be equipped with out here on the Rez:

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant/hand sanitizer/wet wipes for your rear

  • Bottled Water and compass

  • AT@T Cellphone (only carrier and only network that picks up)

  • Ball-cap/sun glasses and good work boots

  • Avoid cash, bring debit/credit (ATM at Sioux Nation, Shell, and Taco Johns)

  • Tools for vehicle repair, no auto shops out here or major parts

  • Layers of clothing for winter (gloves, beanie, heavy coat, insulated boots, etc.)

  • Tobacco for only elders, given as sign of friendship

  • Sleeping bag, pillow, sturdy tent (if plans on camping out on the land)

  • Bible/Knife/First Aid Kit

Reacting to the Homelessness

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Most know the problem of homelessness that once plagued White Clay, NE due to the selling of alcohol. Well now, these groups of homeless people have moved to the center of Pine Ridge since the ban of alcohol, hanging outside of Sioux Nation and Big Bat’s convenient store begging for money. The best advice for anyone coming onto the reservation is to never give out money!!! We have been out here long enough to see the hustles that go on everyday out here. If you want to help, give out clothes and food, never money. Money only enables the homeless to get more dope or booze. Do not be taken advantage of by some of the “off the wall” stories of why they need money. They will come up with anything to get what they want from you and they have been doing this scheme for a long time. I’m not saying don’t help, but only help in ways that will be positive to their growth and meeting their needs, not wants.

Season to Season

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The extremes of weather lie in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Be prepared for cold and hot weather depending on the season. The first frost starts usually in mid-end of October and can drop to single digits from January-March. It is a brief, but typical cool Spring and Fall from year to year, but then comes Summer, hot and windy is the name of the game. Stay hydrated and keep your head covered if possible. There is not much shade out here and you can get heat exhaustion very quickly and not even realize it, til it’s to late and you undergo heat stroke. It happened to yours truly this past summer. Be careful and aware of the weather conditions, because it will make or break your experience here.

Winds on the Reservation

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Weather can be unpredictable out here and you better be prepared. Because of the absence of trees on the rolling hills, winds can easily exceed to 20-40 mph on a very regular basis. Don’t be surprised if your lodging in a trailer or RV and it feels like your on the S.S. Minnow. Make sure everything you bring out is completely tied down, bolted in, concreted, or anchored; because I promise you it will not be there in the morning.

Conveniences on the Reservation for Mission Teams

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Most that have never come onto a reservation think that there isn’t any modern conveniences, but I beg to differ. There might not be a huge variety of options, but Pine Ridge for example has two gas stations (Big Bat’s and Yellow Birds) and a super market (Sioux Nation). It might be a bit more expensive, but you can find your hygiene items, gas, food, etc. This will save you space in your travel bags and give you the ability to minimize weight for carrying things on your mission trip. Minimize all you can, it makes for good travel!