Thanksgiving, another one of our big holiday celebrations for 2015, has come and gone. It went as fast as it came. I think I have to agree with my 9-year old granddaughter – we need a rewind. Having all the family together was such a blessing, and a reason to give thanks.
As with most families, we had a houseful of friends and relatives eating, watching parades and football, laughing, and sharing stories. The day (and weekend) was truly a wonderful memory.
My son-in-law hauled all of my Christmas decorations down from the attic, so my oldest granddaughter and I decorated the Christmas tree. This is the first time I have ever decorated a Christmas tree this soon after Thanksgiving, but with all of the wonderful helpers, I took advantage of the time.
I’m sure most of you had an equally good time visiting friends and relatives. Some of you spent your time volunteering and serving Thanksgiving dinners at shelters and churches for our homeless. I give you a big hug and thank you for doing such a wonderful community service.
Speaking of community service, Amy, a daughter that lives in Colorado, and I were talking, and she mentioned that she started receiving a magazine called Thrive. She wasn’t sure why because she didn’t subscribe to it, but that it had a lot of information about natural foods, and some good recipes.
I told her I had never heard of it either, but to my surprise, I received a copy of it in the mail the next day. We both shop at Fresh Market and Whole Foods, so more than likely, our data was sold to this magazine.
I was scanning it Saturday after Thanksgiving when a particular article caught my eye – one so compelling that I have to share it.
In South Dakota, there’s a community of about 48,000 of our nation’s most impoverished people: the Lakota, or Oglala, Sioux.
The Lakota Sioux have lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation, tucked quietly away in the Southwest corner of the state, for over a hundred years, yet still lack the most common of household comforts such as electricity, running water, and sewage.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but after reading the entire article, while still munching on leftovers from our glorious Thanksgiving spread, I was saddened. I guess the saddest part to me is that this community is in one of our states. Our great America; our nation. Descendants of some of the very people with whom our ancestors shared food on the first Thanksgiving!
In this 48,000 Oglala Sioux reservation, the second largest in the United States, there is only one grocery store. ONE. During the winter, it’s so under-stocked that shelves remain empty for weeks.
Here are a few more statistics:
– The reservation has zero banks, motels, movie theaters, discount stores, and big box stores.
– Seventeen people live in a single home on average, with a household income of about $3,000 annually.
– Sixty percent of homes have no water, electricity, or sewer systems.
– Life expectancy for men on Pine Ridge is 47 years – the shortest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere; the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.
– The unemployment rate is 89 percent.
– Alcoholism affects eight out of ten families.
– Ninety-seven percent of the people live below the poverty line.
– Infant mortality is 300 percent higher than the national average, and is the highest in North America – one in four are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
– Only 27 percent of the residents have a high school diploma or GED. Most of the adult population are high-school dropouts. Teachers are hard to recruit due to the lack of housing.
Rather appalling statistics, aren’t they? I could go on, but you get the picture.
There is a way we can all help. True Sioux Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, is an endeavor to halt the cycle of poverty and despair. To help shine a light on the Native American population of Pine Ridge Reservation, TSHF launched #Sioux60, a social media campaign designed to raise awareness of the severe poverty on the reservation.
Thrive Market, whose mission is to make healthy living accessible to all, has created four customized $50 product boxes which include best-selling healthy foods and natural, wholesome products in everyday sizes, to be delivered right to the door of a family in need on Pine Ridge Reservation.
If you would like to make a donation, you can do so thru Thrive Cares (www.truesiouxhope.org) or True Sioux Hope. You can also find True Sioux Hope Foundation on Facebook. To make a donation via phone, or for any questions regarding donations, please contact Katie at (858) 752-2091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I do have a recipe for you… one I found in Thrive Magazine. These cashews are great to snack on alone or to use in a salad. I hope you enjoy it!
3 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for a few hours to soften
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons onion granules
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
1 tablespoon maple sugar (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Olive oil or spray oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Strain soaked cashews. In a bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.
Spray or brush sheet pan with a thin coat of olive oil and spread cashews evenly. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue to roast for 10 more minutes, or until crisp. Remove from oven.
Sources: www.truesiouxhope.org; Thrive Magazine; U.S. Census Bureau; True Hope Foundation
Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at email@example.com.