Pine Ridge: A Gift of Transformative Generosity

At the beginning of June, I had the privilege of spending a week on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The trip was the culmination of a ten week class offered through the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO called The Church and the Colonial Residual: Pine Ridge, the Black Hills, Missionaries and Indian Justice.

I felt a bit nervous about the trip, as I did not want to be one more person of privilege who came, saw and got the t-shirt from Pine Ridge. I did not want to take anything away from the community, as if they were simply historical pieces of memory only worthy of a digital picture for my online photo album. Due to the deep generosity of the people, however, I found that it was nearly impossible to spend time there and not take multiple gifts and insights away with me as we left South Dakota. Furthermore, to reject these gifts of transformative generosity would only serve in perpetuating the pedagogy of privilege.

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