Natives React to OWN's 'Our America: Life on the Rez'


Last night, Our America with Lisa Ling, a program on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, aired "Life on the Rez," an episode devoted to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

For more information on the show, and to watch clips (and the full episode, if it is made available), visit the Our America page at

As the report came relatively soon after Diane Sawyer's 20/20 show on the same topic, anticipation was high among viewers in Indian country -- would Lisa Ling strike the same dire tone as Sawyer had? Would the portrayal be accurate? Natives took to the great forum of our day -- Twitter -- to discuss the show in real time. Here are some highlights:

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: Prologue of #OurAmerica a little more hopeful than Diane Sawyer's piece. Let's see if the theme holds up. (Alfred Walking Bull identifies himself as Media functionary for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.)

Manda Cook ?@Manda0519: so the SueAnn Big Crow Center doesnt count as a 'youth center'? bullshit! #OurAmerica

Manda Cook ?@Manda0519: 'no casinos to bring in revenue' cause its all embezzled thats why #OurAmerica

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: Now here comes #WhiteClay. Gird your loins. #LifeOnTheRez #OurAmerica

Cory True ?@corytrue: Glad to see #OurAmerica started with alcohol abuse, but quickly turned to a success story. Important to show progress and positive, too! (Cory True identfies himself as Board member and supporter of Re-Member, Pine Ridge, SD.)

Mama Hil ?@rabbitchoker: Hiding our problems magnifies them. Acknowledging them helps us conquer them. ?#ouramerica (Artist Hillary Davis Kempenich is a Member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.)

shalesyaz ?@PMdubya: watching #ouramerica, a way to stop ignorance, #EDUCATE.

Heather ?@iceprincess77: Thank u for showing our proud community!!

Neyom Friday ?@NeyomFriday: @lisaling My dad was always feeding kidney to me. Ack. ?#OurAmerica

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: I love kidney, BTW ?#LifeOnTheRez? ?#OurAmerica

Ever, Greatest™ ?@gtrain88: I love how @LisaLing called us, "Americas first people".

SFeRenée ?@rcCola74: @lisaling Having a cousin, 51, who just died on Sunday from alcohol abuse on the Navajo rez, this show hits home. #ouramerica #LifeOnTheRez

William Kie ?@WilliamKie1: #OurAmerica important to note that statistics they are quoting on this show are for this reservation only...not ALL reservations (William identifies himself as Laguna Pueblo)

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: Minute 20 and we're still on the negative. Oh dear. #OurAmerica #LifeOnTheRez

Cory True ?@corytrue: This is good, fair storytelling. Thank you to @lisaling and #OurAmerica for not sensationalizing the truth of #PineRidge.

Re-Member ?@ReMemberREZ: Great depth of coverage by @lisaling and #OurAmerica. Coupling sad reality of alcoholism with Lakota traditions in the sweat lodge ceremony.

Jason ?@jamlion: @robdyrdek did you help on the Skate Park in Pine Ridge South Dakota? If not should watch #OurAmerica natives need help too. @lisaling (Jason identifies himself as Northern Ute.)

Jerrolyn Doyebi ?@JerrolynD: I'm watching #OurAmerica on OWN! @lisaling -We are a Strong People, thank you for showcasing OUR beauty!

Heather @iceprincess77: @MalikaGhosh check out they helped bring the skatepark to the reservation #OurAmerica

Manda Cook ?@Manda0519: 'Teen Boys Grass' i used to run to watch that category when i was a teen!! #OurAmerica

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: This Misun Mills kid just busted a move that Jagger would pay money for. #LifeOnTheRez #OurAmerica

Laina ?@LainaV52: Such a gud outside look this documentary is doin on Natives frum tha Pine Ridge rez!! Im proud to b Native American!! #OurAmerica

S.whitetail ?@SassyMae80: #OurAmerica #lifeontherez the ending was the best! I love to hear our youth speak about their future!

Alfred Walking Bull ?@awalkingbull: "One thing is clear: they are tired of being part of a sad story ... " #LifeOnTheRez #OurAmerica well said!

Rachael German ?@Mrs_Cab: Watching #OurAmerica haha and that's exactly how it's like on the rez, nothing was exaggerated or made up...glad to be #native though :)

Summer John ?@sjune23: Great to see a show about Life on the Rez with a positive light instead of a negative one. We are here & proud of who we are #OurAmerica

William Kie ?@WilliamKie1: #OurAmerica it was nice...but didnt dig deep. Left a lot of questions unanswered but its only an hour long program. Lot better than Sawyers

Mama Hil ?@rabbitchoker: I survived the consequences of family suicide on rez. We all can. Believe in what we want @lisaling #OurAmerica @owntv

Rachael German ?@Mrs_Cab: I hate how native americans have a negative stereotype when there's negative in every race of people! Glad @lisaling did #OurAmerica

Maggie Dunne ?@mhope13: Great to see some familiar faces including Corbin Conroy in @lisaling #pineridge #ouramerica feature. Can't wait to be back on the rez! (Maggie identifies herself as Founder & President of @Lakota_Children

kelly anderson ?@KellyKaliopi: @OWNCanada my reserve Six Nations is in such great shape in comparison to the one in #OurAmerica but one thing is the same: "crick"="creek"

kelly anderson ?@KellyKaliopi: @OWNCanada #OurAmerica Life on the Rez was great and aimed for the positive despite the harsh realities. I am so tired of the negative angle

Annette Brown ?@ndnjd: @lisaling Thank You for NOT calling us 1st "Americans!" We were the last in 1924. #OurAmerica

Save W?y?bi Project ?@SaveWiyabi: Did you watch "Life on the Rez" tonight? We think @lisaling did a great job of showing the beauty and strength of Natives. #OurAmerica (Save Wiyabi Project is an organization "devoted to bringing awareness to the sexual/domestic violence epidemic placed upon Native American women.")

Annette Brown ?@ndnjd: @lisaling Goot one!! Thank you! Now come on out to Navajoland. Aaaayyyee! ?#OurAmerica

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kickapoocandy's picture
Submitted by kickapoocandy on
I believe in spirit. I also believe in karmic retrubution and laws of nature. The pendulum will swing the other way one day. Swing OUR way. One look at any census data of the shrinking number of the Wishita population will tell you that. The day will come when we are no longer the minority, they are! After they've used our earth resources for their own greed and left us with and an Earth Mother who is truely suffering. After we have lived through the lesson of how to treat others you wish to control, how do they think we'll treat them when we get our power back? They should worry! It's really true, RESISTENCE IS FUTILE, YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. -KickapooCandy