I was out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota last week with my friend Don "CunyDog" Cuny. We stopped by his trailer where he lives full time and I was very sad about what I saw. His trailer was probably 30-40 years old, had no heat, and was leaking inside terribly from the snow melting on the roof. The front door wouldn't even close because the frame was rotted and no longer square. There is undoubtedly excessive mold due to all the water that is getting inside and it is in no way a safe nor comfortable place to live.
Cunydog is a well liked and respected elder in the Oglala Lakota community on Pine Ridge. He is a long time activist in the American Indian Movement (AIM) and has been fighting for his people's rights his entire life. He was at Wounded Knee in 1973, the Alcatraz occupation in 1971, and he was head of security at Standing Rock last year along with countless fights in between. He has worked tirelessly for his people and has fought for the United States government to adhere to the over 500 Treaties that they signed with Native Americans.
He's been helping people for the bulk of his 67 years on this earth and now he could use a little help. He needs a safe, warm, place to live, especially in the brutally cold South Dakota winters that they endure out there.
My sister in Utah has agreed to sell me her camper trailer that she no longer uses and was about to sell. Its worth between $6000-7000 and she's agreed to sell it to me for $3000. Its a 2000 model and is 27' long and is clean, insulated, and would be a comfortable place for Cunydog for probably the next ten years. One of the best parts about a newer and bigger camper is it would give him a place to make his beaded jewelry and leather goods which is his main source of income. He currently has no space whatsoever to make his crafts and is living solely on his modest social security checks.
My plan is to get out to Salt Lake and meet him there to drive his new trailer to South Dakota and help him set it up and move his stuff. I'll keep everyone updated with pictures of the move. I'd like to get him in his new home as soon as possible as there is still plenty of winter left in the Black Hills.
If I could buy this myself I'd do it in a heartbeat but I've been making frequent trips out to the reservation and I'm just not in a position right now to be able to do it alone.
This very modest new home would drastically change his life and frankly I havent met many people in my life who deserve it more than him.