Water for Leland

Dear friends and good people,

Leland Little Dog has no water.  He's not had any since winter of 2014-15!  His pipes cracked.

What the funds will cover

This fundraiser will pay for total replacement of the main water line below the house floor and connections to all fixtures — bath, kitchen, washer, water heater, replace a broken kitchen faucet, and include installation of two outdoor frost-free faucets. The pipes will be wrapped with polyethylene pipe insulation.  Remaining funds will go toward heating – electricity and wood – for the coming winter. Leland's monthly electric heating costs on the open plains of South Dakota are high.

Who is Leland?

Leland Little Dog is a respected member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe, a keeper and teacher of the Lakota language and other Lakota knowledge.  He lives on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. 

I met Leland while participating in a professional conference of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) through the professional group called Natives, Africans, Asians, Latino/as, and Allies (NAALA).  The conference was based on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and was held for a week five years running.  Each year, Leland co-led the conference discussions and visits to significant sites along with Lemoine Lapointe. Both grew up on Rosebud.

Leland was wise, inspiring, clear-minded, and had a way to laugh at life’s difficulties and cruelties.  All of these qualities remain true today.  Through Leland’s wisdom and knowledge I gained insights that continue to influence my personal and professional encouters.

Leland is decidedly clear about not drinking or using drugs in a place where the pressure to use is high and substance abuse ruins lives and families.  His clarity and determination make a difference in the lives of those around him, too.

 Importantly, Leland has vision and hope in a place where the pall of despair suffocates the human spirit.  Please read the context of this ask below.  Leland’s capacity to envision possibility through teaching Lakota knowledge, being of service, and keeping Lakota language alive is remarkable.

To put this ask in context:

 What I gained from the weeks on Rosebud during the conference years, and since, are insights into contemporary and historical life for our Lakota residents. Today’s situation on Rosebud arises directly from a legacy of policies and treaties enacted upon the people who lived here before the Europeans came.  We off the Rez can hardly comprehend.

Reservations: The Fort Laramie treaty of 1868 placed the Lakota people on one large reservation in most of North and South Dakota.  In the 1870’s, upon the discovery of gold, the U.S. government confiscated 7.7 million acres of the Lakota’s sacred Black Hills.  This is the longest running, unsettled court case dealing with Indian land claims.

>  Food & health:  Confinement to reservations meant severe to catastrophic reduction in the ability to secure food.  By treaty, the U.S. government provided food commodities to tribes, in part to bring about "cooperation" with the regulations forced on the Indians.  Poor quality rations led to poor health.  Poor health persists today as evidenced by diabetes rates 2-3 times higher and life expectancy 12 years shorter than the U.S. average.

>  Allotments: The Dawes Act of 1887 gave land allotments to Indians to entice them to stop living communally, to divide up and become “civilized.”  Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe would be granted United States citizenship, until that plan was revoked by the 1906 “Competency” Act, formally known as the Burke Act.  Leland lives on an allotment parcel passed to him by his mother.

>  Rez economics:  Economic opportunity on the remote Rez is abysmal at best.  Today tribal unemployment on Rosebud ranges 20% to 83%, which it reached in 2013.

> Income:  Average per capita income on Rosebud is around $8,800, and over a quarter of families there survive on under $10,000 per year.  Treaty guaranteed government support grossly underserves native communities effectively keeping people in poor health, undereducated, and in impoverished conditions.  The extreme poverty exacts a heavy toll on both physical and mental well-being — consider the hopelessness expressed in the highest per capita suicide rate in the world.

>  Education/deculturalization:  Between 1869 and the 1960’s, federal policy forced as many as 100,000 Indian children into boarding schools with the intention of breaking the culture of the Indians.  Informally, these practices continued into the 1970’s.  Families were broken apart, use of the child’s native language was severely punished, and cultural traditions were brutally taught to be inferior.  Leland’s place as a keeper of Lakota knowledge in this context is invaluable.

What’s the plan?

I telephoned several plumbers who might service Rosebud to get time and cost estimates.  The closest, James, is an hour away.  His is a reputable firm, Heart City Plumbing and Heating, in Valentine, Nebraska.  He has visited Leland, looked at the plumbing needs, and sent me a bid so I could set up this fundraiser. 

We will all give to the campaign, raise the funds, and then I’ll ask James to proceed with the job — to be completed in 2018 - hopefully in April!! 

Please give generously!

It is my hope that you who can will contribute $100 or more.  Donations have ranged from $300 to $5, with 16 people giving $100 or more!

Please know that every smaller contribution is greatly appreciated.  Whatever your gift, it will help the water flow! 

And, please share this fund raising effort with your friends.  Share the link on Facebook, and if you tweet, please tweet this campaign.  Several gifts came from "friends of friends."  Your sharing of this campaign will help reach the $4000 goal. 

We can't do this without you!

 Let’s get Leland’s water back in service in 2018! 

 Thank you so very much for contributing!
  • Ann Woodman 
    • $50 
    • 40 mos
  • Karen Warren 
    • $25 
    • 40 mos
  • TA Loeffler 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Peg Crim 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Mikki Dobski Shidler 
    • $25 
    • 44 mos
See all


Martha Perkins 
Corvallis, OR
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