Pine Ridge Cultural Immersion and Mission Trip
Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation
June 15 – July 1, 2021
Karen Beck, Program Director (Spanish teacher – World Languages Department)
Brebeuf Chaperone(s) – Cory Watkins, Brebeuf Jesuit Head Wrestling Coach
Michael Dwyer, Japanese teacher, North Central High School (Spouse of Shihling Chui-Dwyer, Brebeuf Jesuit Chinese teacher. Michael chaperoned Pine Ridge 2017, 2018, 2019)
Matthew Tippel, Director of Choirs/General Music Teacher
Fr. Chris Johnson, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Jesuit Identity
Fr. Ron Seminara, S.J., Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Red Cloud School, South Dakota
Cost of the program:
$1,950.00 – Cost includes all transportation, lodging and camping, all meals and snacks, tours, guides, fees, service goods and mission work contributions.
Each summer, Brebeuf students are invited to experience a unique cultural immersion and mission trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota. This cultural immersion experience reflects the Brebeuf Mission Statement in that this type of experience fosters a culture of understanding and dialogue with people of diverse religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Native American reservations in the United States are among the most impoverished areas. The total land area of the Reservation is 2.1 million acres, with 1.7 million acres held in trust by the United States government. By land area, the reservation is the seventh largest in the country. The median household income is $26,721 per year, and the unemployment rate is approximately 80-90%. The officially reported poverty rate for American Indians living on Pine Ridge is 53.75%. The United States average is 15.6%. Pine Ridge Reservation has the lowest per capita income ($8,768) in the country, and ranks as the “poorest” county in the nation. The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations reports a total tribal enrollment of 38,332, with 19,639 living on the reservation.
Applicants and families: As you may know, last year’s annual trip was cancelled due to the pandemic. We are very hopeful that this summer, Brebeuf students will once again be able to travel to South Dakota in service to the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A great deal depends upon the vaccination progress here and in South Dakota, especially on the reservation, and some new protocols may be in place for the safety of all. In addition, this year’s trip participants over the age of 16 may be asked to provide proof of vaccination prior to travel. Many unknowns at this time; however, as we move in the right direction over the next few months, we feel confident in going forward with the initial plans for a summer 2021 return to the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Travel Scholarship Information
The link to apply for scholarships may be found here.