OST Housing Authority
The OST Trail of Hope for Indian Housing carted an actual house from Pine Ridge to D.C. to raise awareness about the dire state of housing on reservations in the Northern Plains, including Pine Ridge.

Oglala Sioux Tribe's 'Trail of Hope' Delivers Message to D.C. Today


The Trail of Hope for Indian Housing initiative has carted a house 1,500 miles from South Dakota and is displaying it next to the U.S. Capitol Building to highlight the terrible housing conditions on Indian reservations.

(UPDATE: The event is streaming live on the Internet for those who can't attend in person. Click here for details.)

The facades of an actual house from the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation arrived in Washington, D.C., by motorcade yesterday and will be placed at Union Square (3rd Street NW) today, Wednesday, April 17. The site adjacent to the U.S. Capitol will be open to the public from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) are both scheduled to speak, as is Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Several tribal officials will also be on hand.

The house is actually part of the original home and has been reconfigured so it can be opened up in Washington as a walk-through display. Viewers will be able to go inside and witness its poor condition, as well as read testaments by Pine Ridge residents about their gritty living conditions.  It will be on display for 24 hours and remain in D.C., perhaps with the Smithsonian.

The dilapidated structures are typical of the overcrowded and sub-standard housing conditions where Northern Plains Indians are forced to live.  Many Indian reservations have the worst housing in the United States. Tens of thousands of Indians often have to live three families to a unit with as many as 18 people crowded into aging two-bedroom houses. 

The housing situation on Pine Ridge is dire.

"Since Washington cannot come to the reservation, we will take the reservation to Washington," said Paul Iron Cloud, executive director of the Oglala Sioux Housing Authority, in a release. "Washington and America will learn of the current conditions on many of our largest and most preeminent reservations."

Oglala Sioux Tribal officials say the reservation's ability to build new homes is suffering under federal budget cuts while their population is growing.

"We need 4,000 homes," said Iron Cloud told the Rapid City Journal. "We only have 1,100."

More information is available online at: Facebook.com/TrailofHopeforIndianHousing.

The team made it to D.C.

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Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Thank you for showing the world what living in a typical Rez house consists of & even worse! Just yesterday I made a commentary about this VERY topic. It is shameful & disgraceful for our people to have to live in things that are worse than most folks mules are living in! It is a slap in the face to human beings to have to live in such a pig sty. It is shameful at the foods we are expected to eat. Do you want to eat moldy things? Drink rancid water? Have to wear clothes not fit for rags? Not be able to even afford basic toiletries for having good hyigene? Do you want to have to use a outhouse or the bushes for a toilet? How about being homeless? It's no fun at all. Especially when it is so hot, raining or the bitterness of a hard winter. Having decent housing can mean the difference between life or death. I guarantee you answered, "Not no, but HELL no!" You see, so many on a number of Rez's are exactly like these conditions. It's not because someone is lazy & won't work, it's not because people are always drinking, using dope & partying, but because they are so poor & not every tribe is making a killing from casinos or the oil & gas fields. There is an old saying of our people that goes like this: "You have not yet walked in your brother's moccasins until you have walked beside him bare-footed." When you can understand that my friends THEN you can understand the great hardships so many of our good & decent people near & far have to face each day they wake up on the Rez. It breaks your heart to see eyes hungry to be treated with dignity & respect, hungry for something to eat & decent water to drink. If you ever experience seeing what I am talking about you will not just ignore these children, young people & elders. You, too, will help all you can. Not all of us are wealthy, not all of us are well-known, most are like you & I, just average folks with an average job or perhaps retired like myself ,but when we all come together, we CAN do something when we pool resources. We can ALL make a difference in the lives of our people & extended families who are suffering, one person at a time. Wealthy of our people & corporations of our people, how about helping your brothers, sisters, elders & children out? Make a difference in something that keeps on helping & gets passed on by others as well. The Creator made us all & all we have or become is by His decree & blessings my friends. Be a blessing & receive blessings as well. Pass it on my friends! Make a difference in a good way today!