By David Snell,
Fuller Center President
Sheilla and I are in Rapid City, South Dakota. We’re on a cross-country covenant partner tour and planned it to meet up with the Bicycle Adventurers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I do believe that the adventure in the Adventure has taken on new meaning this year! I spent a number of years building houses on Pine Ridge, so I wanted to be there for the riders. It is a fascinating place to spend some time. They had a work day there and were able to help a couple of families with much-needed repairs to their homes.
Life is hard in Indian Country. Poverty is a fact of life on most reservations — only the ones that have oil or have struck it rich with a casino are free of the scourge. The history of the relationship between the U.S. government and the tribes has been troubled from the earliest days and the efforts to make things better have pretty much made things worse. Those who argue that too much government support robs people of dignity and initiative need only look to the reservation to find support for their case.
Clarence Jordan’s observation that what the poor need isn’t charity but capital would have great application in Indian Country. While the bikers were building, Sheilla and I were meeting with tribal leaders talking about the possibility of a covenant partner there. I don’t think that there could be a better gift than to give some families there the chance to be a true partner in having a decent place to call home.
Now we’re off to Colorado to spend some time with family. We enjoy our time in Americus but sure do miss the grandkids. Then we head east — the best part of any trip is going home.