|The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun
News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.
Family photo: Sage Blacksmith, Hunter Blacksmith, Leets Yellow Boy, Lois White Whirlwind at the New Year’s Powwow at the Prairie Winds Casino.
‘Last of the Hostiles’ youth movement takes hold
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer
PINE RIDGE—In the middle of a raging blizzard Shane Montgomery an Oglala Lakota and the founder of ‘The Last of the Hostiles’ youth movement, traversed the entire Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on foot, in only four days.
“We did this to show the youth that things that seem impossible can be accomplished even when there are those who tell you that they can’t,” said Montgomery. “Sometimes things seem to be overwhelming but there are people out there who care for the youth and I am one of them, and that is why we did this,” he added.
The idea to walk across the reservation was spawned after a recent rash of suicides on the reservation which forced Montgomery to take action.
“I love our people and I want to raise awareness of our struggles,” he said. “We do this so that the people may live,” added Montgomery.
The walk began on the far eastern entrance to the reservation near Kadoka, and ended on the far west side near the reservation town of Oglala. The walk which was supposedly supported by the Oglala Sioux Tribe was sustained by community members who sympathized with Montgomery’s desire to draw attention to the suicide epidemic on the reservation.
“The Tribe said they were going to help us out with supplies, but when the time came they were nowhere around,” said Montgomery. “This walk was for the people and the people are the ones who made it possible. I couldn’t thank them enough,” he said.
Montgomery, is one of several people on the Pine Ridge reservation who are currently helping to build a non-profit youth movement called “The Last of the Hostiles”, a program that is completely free of the influence, control, and oversight of the local tribal government. Montgomery, feels that it is necessary that what he is doing be separate from the programs provided by the Oglala Sioux tribe.
“There are sixty five programs on the reservation that receive funding for the youth and the only time they actually do things for the youth is when it is time to show face or to report for grants,” said Montgomery. “We are tired of the nepotism, the mismanagement of funds and the kids suffering because of this,” he added.
The name for the youth movement was inspired by the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
“Our Greatest war Chief Crazy Horse and all Natives at one time were considered hostile by the United States Government. Eventually he was killed sworn to forever remain Hostile, I shall remain Hostile so our people will live,” said Montgomery. “This is why we decided to name this project what we did,” he added.
The group has deployed a network of youth mentors all over the reservation to provide Lakota youth with access to people who can both sympathize with what they are going through and provide advice on how to deal with the problems they face on an everyday basis.
“We have youth mentors from all parts of life, we have former gang members, people who have experienced 23 hour lockdowns during incarceration, as well as educated professionals,” Montgomery said. “It is ok to have people who have always done right helping our kids, but it is just as important to have people who understand the streets and its struggles so that these kids have to be real when looking for help. We understand what they are going through better than anyone,” he added.
The group is currently applying for status as a non-profit organization with the state of South Dakota and has established an account at the Lakota Funds office in Kyle, SD. Montgomery told NSN that the reason he has established the fund is to provide for an environment of transparency, where those who donate or work with the group will know that their money is being spent on the kids.
Currently the organization is in the process of developing several youth sports teams and is looking for partners to help expand their services.
“We are a completely homegrown, grassroots organization who will put the people first,” he said. “Some people do this for recognition, or fame, or money. We do this so that the people will be better. The creator guides us in what we do,” he said.
For more information on the group you can contact Montgomery at (605) 441-1811.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at email@example.com)
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