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Re-Member

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Children & Youth, Education, Homeless & Housing, Human Services

Mission: Guided by the aspirations of the Oglala Lakota communities we serve, Re-Member seeks to improve the quality of Reservation life through relationships, shared resources, and volunteer services.

Target demographics: Oglala Lakota Oyate (Nation) living on the Reservation.

Geographic areas served: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Programs: Re-Member is a non-profit outreach that has coexisted with the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Re-Member works through a small group of staff and more than 1,100 volunteers each year. We spend time on historical and cultural immersion, sharing meals, celebrating alongside Lakota at local powwows, and working to improve living conditions of the tribal members.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited Re-Member this year for the first time with my wife. I felt it was a very positive experience and I came away knowing more about the Lakota that I ever thought I would. It felt good to be helping others and the RE-Member staff were welcoming, patient and made sure everyone got plenty of time doing hands-on work, regardless of their skill level. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone! - Tim Koithan, NY

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Re-Member in 2018 and 2019 (and hope to return!) This organization is doing incredible work on the Pine Ridge Reservation .The work projects they undertake are widely varied in nature (agricultural, home repairs, building bunk beds and outhouses , cutting/delivering firewood and installing wheelchair ramps and trailer skirting). But more importantly, Re-Member is building RELATIONSHIPS with those who reside on the reservation. Their program also helps us "outsiders" learn about the Oglala Lakota and their history. Donations to Re-Member are used judiciously to maximize the positive impact of each and every dollar. Volunteers are immersed in Lakota culture, get to build relationships with the folks they meet on the work sites, and leave Re-Member better individuals than when they arrived. My time spent at Re-Member far exceeded any expectation I had before going into it!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering with Re-Member since 2011 and I go back whenever my schedule allows. I’ve gone to Re-Member with a big group, with a friend, and alone, and each time was a worthwhile and incredible experience. The first time I volunteered here, I was 16 and had never heard of the Pine Ridge Reservation, so I love that Re-Member takes the time to educate volunteers with tours and cultural speakers.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our school first connected with RE Member nearly 10 years ago and continue to bring a group of 7th and 8th grade students every other year to Pine Ridge for a week of community service and cultural identity education. This past spring was my first trip with Re Member and I was blown away by the experience. Despite being there in early May we worked through three days of sloppy snow and mud. The Re Member staff had a positive attitude and kept the students moving and grooving through it all. I loved the combination of service, community tours, and nightly speakers. All three of these combined created an immersive experience that brought the challenges and beauty of the Oglala Lakota Sioux community to life for my students.

1 Brenda Dello Russo P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We bring our 7th grade students every year for this AMAZING service trip. We are blessed to be taken in by this beautiful community and culture for the week. The folks we worked with at Re-Member are inspiring individuals who provided a life-changing experience for our students and teachers. I can't recommend this organization any higher -- I think every person needs to volunteer here. Chances are it won't be your only time giving to this community. You will want to go to Re-Member again and again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended a service learning week in September 2018. They are very well received by the Oglala Lakota community which spoke volumes to me.

Half of our volunteer time was spent providing direct services - installing outhouses, wheelchair ramps, and weather skirting for trailer homes. The other half of the time we attended educational presentations by members of the Lakota community and visited historic sites with cultural/historic interpretation. It's a rare and precious opportunity to hear history told from the Oglala perspective by someone from their own community. It was a very moving week to say the least.

At all times Re-Member staff and coordinating volunteers were conscious of the values of humility and respect and conveyed these to volunteers.

Opportunities were orchestrated for volunteers to visit with residents of the reservation. We attended a powwow and were invited by the tribal leader to join them in dance.

Re-Member is also developing community gardens with Pine Ridge in partnership with the state agricultural extension to address the "food desert". The reservation is geographically isolated such that availability of healthy produce is much needed. The gardens include culturally important food crops and the site they are building there will be used by the Oglala to celebrate their culture and heritage.

Given the level of need on the reservation, Re-Member's work is extremely important.

Jean Adele S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent six days in July 2019 with Re-Member working with the Oglala Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. I was with a group from my church and we joined other groups at the Re-Member location. There were three days of hands-on work. The team I was a part of worked on constructing a wheel chair ramp, and painted out-houses. We also helped to maintain a garden project and help in the building of greenhouses or hoop houses.
The other days were spent visiting historical locations, other local towns and schools. There was daily immersion into Indian history and culture. One evening, the community was invited for a meal at Re-Member giving the volunteers an opportunity to share a meal and conversation with residents of the reservation.
The heat and the work were physically exhausting and exhilarating for me. The lessons in history, culture, and the Wisdom of the Elders filled my mind and heart. I began to feel the sacredness of the Indian way of life, thinking, and religion.
I returned home with some realization of the complexity of past history and the present life on the reservation. And also very thankful for the experience and hearing about the spiritually of the Lakota.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of being able to travel from Aotearoa, New Zealand to become part of the Re-Member team a number of times and have gained so much along the way. To be able to assist in improving the living conditions of others and make life a little easier for them gives as much to the giver as to the receiver. The volunteers are from all walks of life, social status, religious and cultural back grounds and everyone works together with one common goal. The programme offered at Re-Member is awesome in that it includes a mix of work days, cultural outings and educational speakers offering an insight to the history and culture of the Lakota people from Pine Ridge. Through my times at Re-Member I have become part of the Re-Member family and have made friends from across America and the world who I will treasure for life. Mitakuye Oyasin - we are all related. I would highly recommend the Re-Member organisation to anyone wanting to assist others in a practical way while learning more about the lives of others in the process.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Re-Member for years, and I've worked as part of the staff and as a volunteer. I have always been struck by how humble the organization is. The mission of Re-Member is one of reconciliation, education, and peace; and the organization is always seeking ways to make itself better and to better serve the people of Pine Ridge. While no nonprofit can entirely escape being problematic, Re-Member is diligent about reflection and growth, and seeks input from the communities with which it is involved.

1 Chris S.14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been to work with Re-Member three times since 2004. Every time I go, despite the similarity of the experience (hard work and wonderful fellowship and immersion), I learn something more about the Lakota Oyate and about myself.
This is a great opportunity for young people, but just as good for folks of all ages. I have been with large groups (more than 25) and small groups (just three of us) and have made lifelong friends each time.

2 Lynn C.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Re-Member twice so far. I love the fact that this organization is working with the Lakota people to make their lives better. As a volunteer, I got to do real work that could help improve people's lives. I also love the fact that Re-member provides cultural training and insights about the lives of Lakota. Re-member is not trying to change the people on the reservation, but working to improve and uplift.

2 Julie W.12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re Member gives people a wonderful opportunity to work together with the Oglala Lakota also known as the Sioux on a voluntary basis and gives volunteers a wonderful opportunity to learn about the amazing culture of the Lakota on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I'm going back for.my second visit in a few days. There are opportunities for those of us older or less able to feel useful in week 30 and for the rest of the summer those more able bodied are able to volunteer. Families can volunteer, also groups of people and students. There are talks by Lakota speakers and opportunities to learn about the culture and religion. All you need is an open mind.

3 Sharon Mcdermott K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered 3 years of n a row and will be going back this year as well. I love the people at remember and love serving the people on the rez. I have met some wonderful people there and will continue to volunteer as long as I can.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Re Member in 2016. I went over from the UK, it was a life changing experience for me and I'm going back this year

4 Stasha

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past spring was my 4th opportunity to volunteer with Re-Member. As a chaperone for a high school class I have witnessed the power of the Re-Member experience on high school kids. I’ve watched them contemplate as they learn history they were not taught and see living conditions they have never experienced. They learn about empathy, compassion and community. They learn the importance of working with and for a community to better the world as a whole. They witness generosity at a level they're not accustomed to. They learn the power of laughter. They are encouraged to challenge their preconceived knowledge and beliefs so they can open themselves to learning and having new experiences. It is truly a life-changing experience for them. Re-Member offers an invaluable experience for people of all ages. I have gained deep insights and memorable moments each time I have visited. I hope Re-Member can grow and actualize all their visions so many more people, both on the reservation and off, can reap the benefits for many years to come. As the saying goes, “It takes a village.”

4 Gene D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Gene Delcourt. I am a retired Social Studies teacher from Madison Wisconsin and I taught for 20 years at Malcolm Shabazz City High School. I have taken classes from Shabazz to Re-Member 14 times because from the very first trip I saw a level of growth and awareness in each of my students' lives. For many of the student's, this trip was the first time they have witnessed poverty at this extreme but they all tended to come away from the experience with positivity and a deep sense of love for those folks that we met through the various activities that Re-Member lines up. The overall experience, for each of the hundreds of kids who've come out on these trips, has been overwhelmingly positive!

3 Jason B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a Re-Member volunteer 2x over the past 3 years and it's been a life-changing experience learning about the reservation on Pine Ridge and meeting the people there. Re-Member has a great staff...they make you feel like an important part of what they are doing to serve members of the community out there. ...can't wait to go back!

2 Lauren Brielle S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I continue to be in awe of the incredible work that Re-Member does as well as the special relationship they have with the Lakota Indians of the Pine Ridge reservation. It is wonderful the way the program is structured. It enables you to see the “fruits of your labor’ first hand! Whether it’s delivering beds or weeding the beautiful garden at Feather 2 as it grows, each volunteer feels as though they made a difference! I look forward to returning and always regretful when I need to leave... there is definitely a magic that happens at Re-Member and I highly recommend getting involved in this incredible organization to anyone interested!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with re-member for the past three years. It is an extraordinary program run by some of the greatest humans you will ever come across. Re-member’s connection with the people of Pine Ridge is wonderful and the volunteer trip is an opportunity to gain tremendous insight into both the rich traditions of the Lakota people as well as the challenges they face. I have never been involved in a more rewarding non-for profit and going back to Pine Ridge has become a tradition for my mother and I!

2 Diane S.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went out to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and worked with Re-Member in June, 2018. This was my Sixth trip to Re-Member! The organization and leadership of it is totally dedicated to serving the Lakota people on the Rez. Not only do you build and deliver beds to children and adults who have NEVER slept in a bed, dig holes for and build outhouses because they have no running water, put skirting on the trailers they live in to help insulate them from cold and heat, and build ramps and stairs on the trailers, but you also learn about the history and culture while you are there. The experience is so fulfilling and I've built many relationships with people on the Rez. Re-Member is a fantastic organization that truly cares about the Lakota people it serves. The experience touches you right from the start and leaves its mark in your heart.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of serving the past 2 years at Re-Member with the Oglala Lakota. The experience will change your perspective and empower you to do more. A highlight is serving in the community and meeting the people. We had the honor of installing beds for an extended family who were sleeping on sofa cushions on the floor. The Matriarch was so excited for us to install the beds and shared her plans for improving the house to make it a home. Re-Member's volunteer program is well organized, educational, and respectful to their neighbors on Pine Ridge. It's a great place to learn about our country's history and make a difference for the present, and future.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ReMember is an awesome organization who helps the Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I have gone a few times and each time is an life-changing experience... this year we took our youth group and they all want to go back next year. It was an eye opening experience for everyone involved. Everyone is given the opportunity to help in so many ways... building, painting, skirting trailers, making and delivering bunk beds, digging holes and building outhouses. It’s so nice how they teach us about the culture and get to meet many people and really understand how you are involved in their lives.

3 Mary Jo Butkovich M.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I volunteered at Re-member in May of this year. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It changed me as a person. I went on this mission trip because I wanted to be educated regarding the plight of the Lakota Indians. It was so much more. I worked with amazing staff at Re-member & all my co-volunteers. I still can't get over that we have a 3rd world country right here in the USA. I was appalled at the living conditions of most of the Lakota people. They still don't have water or sewer????? What is wrong with this picture????? The Lakota people that I met were just wonderful people. They love their heritage & fight for it everyday. From the school teacher to the horticulture expert , they work hard to better their fellow Lakota's lives. Re-member is a wonderful organization that is really helping the Lakota people. Please consider giving a donation so they can start Phase 2 of Re-member. Mary Jo Morales

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Re-Member for over 10 years and I am a firm believer in the wonderful benefits this nonprofit provides for both the Native Americans who live in Pine Ridge, which is one of the most impoverished places within this country, and to the volunteers who gain a deeper perspective on Native American history and culture. Serving with Re-Member is a transformative experience that is certain to impact the worldview of volunteers. I highly recommend individuals to volunteer and consider donating to this nonprofit organization.

3 Paroo S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a 5-time Re-Member volunteer. Since my journey started with this organization in 2015, it's become an important part of my life. Volunteers learn quickly that their presence and the offering of their time, energies and compassion go a long way in helping to heal wounds on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Re-Member's mission is to heal relationships, meet needs, and help build a future for the Lakota on the Rez; the organization does this in a way that makes important every member of their volunteer team and the experience is beyond rewarding.

Re-Member has become a dynamic part of the community on the Rez; residents smile and wave at us as we travel in the Re-Member van out working on projects; the outreach they provide cannot be overstated...it is such an important and much-needed web of support.

As a volunteer, you become immersed in the culture of the reservation during your visit...through daily interaction with indigenous members of the community; repairing homes, listening to and talking with people, sometimes even sharing a meal or taking part in a special event or celebration. Also through morning "Wisdom of the Elders" talks that prepare you for your day, evening cultural immersion programs with local storytellers, musicians, and other respected members of the community. Re-Member makes every effort to educate their volunteers about the history of the Lakota people, and has a great respect for them.

Re-Member staff are good people with generous hearts...many were once volunteers themselves. Volunteers come with all levels of experience in building/repairing (I had none!) and we are always treated with patience and encouragement. At the end of a week at Re-Member we have a final sharing session and everyone speaks about the gifts they have received by being a volunteer and how the experience has changed their perspectives...and, perhaps, their priorities. The gifts received in your heart are always numerous and irreplaceable. Thank you, Re-Member! Wóphila!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first trip was in May of 2017 with my family and friends from church. Re-Member supports people of the Lakota tribe through help with housing repairs, providing beds and bunk beds, latrines and much more. Re- Member has daily speakers sharing ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ describing life on the reservation and the treatment by the United States over the years. It is a wonderful chance to practice listening. Food is good, hot showers, flush toilets and nice beds. Great for a family service trip. I plan to go again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have returned to Re-Member six times including June 16, 2018. It is truly the highlight of my summertime activities. It does not get any better than working with other volunteers in SERVING the Lakota people. Learning Lakota culture, their spiritual beliefs, and, daily struggles and hardships is truly inspiring and gut wrenching.
The program is well run and the Native American speakers are exceptional. I visit with excitement and cry when I have to leave.
If you want to experience a life changing event, visit Re-Member in Pine Ridge SD. You will NOT be sorry you did.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered here for the 4th time this summer. Every year is a wonderful and heart-wrenching experience. Re-member doesn't just put a band-aid on the issues, it actually works to empower the Oglala Lakota living on the Rez and the volunteers get to see that firsthand. This is such an important organization, as it bridges the gap between "us" and the Oglala and also plays a vital role in educating all the volunteers of the struggles they face.

3 Carl D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re-Member is an amazing organization dedicated to serving the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Whether you are building a bed for a small child who no longer has to sleep on the kitchen floor, seeing the joy in a mans face after you have helped build stairs so his family no longer has to climb into their meager trailer, or skirting a trailer to save a family thousands of dollars in heating costs over just one winter, you will be changed by your time at Re-Member. In addition they take the time to teach you about the culture, the people and the history of the Lakota people. I have been to Re-Member multiple times and am a better person each time.

2 Kathi Kennedy D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Re-Member 4 times in the last 6 years. As a nonprofit organization it goes above and beyond to use their time, materials and money wisely. We are treated as family. Everyone pitches in to keep the housing areas clean and in working order. Each night we gather to soak up the Indian history and culture that is so important to the work that we do there. The Native Americans trust the staff and volunteers at Re-Member. While out on a job site it is not unusual for someone to approach a staff member to ask for some work to be completed. Their reputation on the reservation is what has kept them going for 20 years. Their long term plans seek to add jobs and better resources for healthier food.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mission Trip last week of June 2018. I've truly enjoyed going to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Re-Member. This has been my fourth trip and each time I've gone I learn something new and I become more humbled. Being there to fellowship with staff and getting to know other groups. Truly a place to take those that are in need of grounding and getting in touch with our Creator!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Re-Member in 2006. I wanted an experience that would teach me and still allow me to give back. I had no idea just how great the experience was going to be... an experience that has led me back each year for 12 years.

Re-Member allows you to STOP, breath, take in a different culture, self reflect, and grow as a human being. I don't leave this organization each year pumped up with selfish pride that I've come out and helped the poor. Instead, I leave each visit with a sense of humility, a sense of calm, and definitely a sense of appreciation for the spirit and the persistence of this country's indigenous people.

Re-Member gives you a chance to reach out to our native brothers and sisters, to help however we can, but really to learn from them and their history, their culture, and their current struggles.

This year we built outhouses, bunk beds, and split firewood. Working together with others to achieve daily goals was fulfilling. However, in the end, what I came away with was the high of building relationships, not just with the Lakota people, but with those whom I worked on a united team.

Volunteering for Re-Member is an experience that you can't fully understand until you do it. It changes you, it helps you grow, it opens your mind. It's a beautiful thing to see people come together and care for each other. There is still goodness in this world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was at Remeber on May 19th-25th 2018 for the second time. It is both a very rewarding and thought provoking experience. I have never experienced such poverty and deplorable living conditions. Remember over the past twenty years has developed a trusting relationship with the Lakota. Because of this volunteers are able to participate with building and distributing beds, skirting trailers building and distributing outhouses all of which helps to improve the living conditions of the Lakota. We are also able to share experiences with the Lakota and learn about their very rich culture. Remember provides a great service to the community. The need is great and I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to share in this experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my second trip to Re-member and le the first, it was an amazing experience. Both trips were emotional and filled with information. The staff were accepting, loving, and in great spirits. The Lakota Oyate were all kind and appreciative. They were willing to give when they had nothing to give. The groups that were there were like sponges. They youth entered Re-member with a text book paradigm and left with a changed heart and way of thinking. This group was very productive and didn't complain. They were highly excited about the entire experience- kinda shocking with this generation of youth. Relationships are formed and bonded between the two bonkers and the Lakota Oyate. Contact info are exchanged and everyone left with a notin to meet again at their, now, second home Re-member. Though this is my second time, I will always return and remember to fight for Re-member. Mitakuye Oyasin with Macooa.
Pilamaya

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first trip (with a church group who has gone many times). Re-Member supports people of the Lakota tribe through help
With housing repairs, providing beds and
Bunk beds, latrines and much more. Re- Member has daily speakers sharing ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ describing life on the reservation and the treatment by the United States over the years. Re-Member is close to the Massacre of Wounded Knee site and the Badlands. Good food, hot showers, flush toilets and nice beds. Great for volunteers of all ages
.