Books for Pine Ridge Reservation

Update: This is an old post, but for the most part the information is all relevant.  Donations are still needed.  Please feel free to email me about donating.  My contact info is at the bottom.

I’ve been thinking that I need to get out there and find a community in desperate need of books.  So here’s the story:

I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Pine Ridge Reservation is a short drive away.  I went to school with kids whose parents were still on the reservation all through out my school years.  I knew that they had it hard out there.  I knew they struggled and that life was bleak.  I also remember when my friend Raymond came over to my house he was in awe over all my books.  

So when I saw a website where they were asking for donations for a family (diapers, etc) in Pine Ridge, it clicked in my head.  I had just found who needed me, needed us.  Our help.  I had just drove through there a couple weeks ago and had thought about them and wished I could find a way to help them.  Just something to cheer them up, give them hope and something to wile away the time.  I had forgotten about it though.  It just slipped my mind.  So when it came back to me it was like it was meant to be.

Here are some facts:

Pine Ridge is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation.  It’s the eighth largest reservation (according to Wikipedia though I found other sources that said second largest) in the US.  It’s larger then Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  It is within the boundaries of Shannon and Jackson counties which are two of the poorest counties in the US.  According to a study by Colorado State University it’s estimated the resident population at 28,787.  
Pine Ridge is not only the eighth largest reservation in the US but it is the poorest.  Unemployment is between 80-85% and 97% are below poverty level.  Teen suicide is four times the national average.  Many families have no electricity, phone, running water or sewer.  
Pine Ridge has the shortest life expectancy out of any group in the Western Hemisphere.  That is an average of 47 years for males and 52 years old for females.  The infant mortality rate is five times the US national average.  
School drop out rate is over 70%.  The schools are in the bottom 10% in school funding.  Teacher turn over is 800% that of the US national average.
Most live in rural and isolated areas.  There are few paved roads and most rural homes are inaccessible during rain or snow.  The weather is extreme.  Severe winds, and bitter cold that can reach -50*F (I remember one winter was -60*F).  Summers temperatures reach over 110*F.  
There are no banks, discount stores, movie theaters.  There is only one grocery store of moderate size and it is in Pine Ridge.  There are NO PUBLIC LIBRARIES except the ONE at Oglala Lakota College.

Now imagine living in an area that vast and there only being a college library?  Most people don’t have access to a vehicle so many live a very long ways from any of the branches.
Fortunately the one library has a program running for the summer called the Build Your Own Library Project. They deliver books to each community.  It’s mainly about providing books to the children, but they also provide books for the adults who bring the children.  LaVera is the wonderful librarian who I’ve been communicating with.  She’s assured me that they need books for all ages.  She also says  The Build Your Own Library Project is our vehicle for book distribution during the summer months but we also deliver to our district branch libraries on a bi-weekly basis year round.  In addition, we have delivered books to the juvenile detention center, senior citizen centers, and other places when the resources are available.”

So will you guys help me make those resources available?  Can you help me provide books to the people of the Pine Ridge Reservation?  Some of these people were my friends, my confidants and some of the best friends I ever had.  I remember each of those friends clearly.  Each of them has their own story which is not mine to share, but I remember.  I remember very well.  
So what we are looking for is books that are new or in very gently used condition and less then five years old.  Not soiled or torn.  They are in need of books for all ages.  Board books for babies, children’s books, middle grade reading, young adult, and adult books.  The young adult books, to me are very important because that’s when they are on the cusp of deciding their future.  They need a boost in their dreams and they need hope, encouragement and something to do!  They also need books to help them preserve their native language that is being lost at an alarming rate.  You can see and purchase these books at  
Because I want everyone to be comfortable in what they donate I’m giving you options!  Lots of options!  
-If you are an author or publisher willing to make a contribution please let me know.  I’m open for doing a raffle or for just giving you the address to ship to if you wish to send books. 

-If you already own new or gently used books (less then 5 years old and not soiled or torn) you can contact me with the address to ship them.  They will go directly to LaVera who will see them distributed.  

-You can donate a gift card. Contact me for an email address or address to send it to.

-Order a Book from Language Press to help preserve the Lakota language.  You can contact me for shipping information.

– Buy or order any new book.  Contact me for shipping information.

I’m also searching for those who are willing to donate books for prizes to those who donate books.
Please leave a comment!  When others see the interest it generates their own!  
Please email me at candace_redinger(at)yahoo(dot)com for any information and shipping info.

Pictures posted are my own from my recent trip to SD.  Although not taken on the reservation, they are right outside the reservation and the land on the reservation is basically the same in many areas.
The facts acquired for this come from Wikipedia and have been compared with other random sources.  I tried to get the facts right, but do not promise that everything is the current state of things.  Although the data seems to be up to date, it is possible that there are things that have changed.

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  1. Hey

    I will help you out. I will contact you next week with what I can do, I just want to finish up my raffle and walk and than I can put some effort into this


  2. I found your blog listed at Angela’s “can’t live without blogs.” If you believe in fate then fate is calling. I already read so many blogs that it takes so much time away from my writing (not complaining-I love the blogs I read and I always benefit from reading). I decided to click on one or two of the sites listed that I was unfamiliar with. I decided to do it by random choice. Your blog is the first one I read.

    I am so happy I did. Even before I got to the end of your article, as I was reading about organizing some sort of book drive for an indian reservation;my mind traveled back to the stories I have been told all of my life. I am part Native American (I know with my blonde hair when I tell people this they laugh), but it is true. Unfortunately, I did not realize the depth of the connection until after I completed law school, but my husband and I did the research and because my mother’s father (whom I never knew) was a full blooded Indian, I have enough Native American Blood to have afforded me many educational opportunities I was unaware of. What really grabbed me when reading your blog:He was Sioux and I have been told that we have relatives that still live on an indian reservation in South Dakota. Through a great deal of work and connecting with family I never knew through a geneology site; I have now learned I could have gone to law school free, because of my Native American heritage, I had a full scholarship, so much is not lost, but I also have a disabled child. In my eyes she is not disabled, she is a triplet born at 23 weeks gestation weighing 1 Lb. 13 Oz. Blake is hearing impaired. Her disabilty has not held her back -so far. She is on the honor roll and hears and speaks well with her cochlea impant, but she is still delayed.

    There may come a time in her future will I will have to rely on my heritage to help her -perhaps college, law school, med school, who knows, but knowing that my connection to the Sioux Indians in South Dakota will offer my daughter an opportunity she may otherwise be deprived of, really inspired me to help you in your effort to get the books to the children and adults on the reservations.

    I am a firm believer in fate, b’ersheet.

    I clicked on your site out of so many others for a reason and the first post I read brought tears to my eyes. So yes. you can count me in. I am off to make some purchases now through the site you have linked, but I want to do more than just buy a few books. You mentioned something about a reward or donation or prizes for those who donate books. I don’t know what Prizes I can offer (I am unpublished), but I have a few ideas that I will email to you. Please count me in. I am willing to help you finacially and any other way you see fit to put me to work. I am so glad I clicked on this link tonight ( I couldn’t sleep). God bless you for your thoughtfulness and generousity.

    Melissa Sugar
    Sorry so long; I am just so excited about this and I have so much more to ask you and tell you.

  3. Okay call me stupid, but I cannot find an area on your blog to send you a direct email. I will post a link to this on my blog, but I wanted to discuss some things with you. I have a few ideas for prizes that you can use for this project. I have some ideas and I have a few gift certificates to places like, one is for a mini manuscript review valued at $75 and quite a few more. Please email me directly at or if you are interested in using any of my freebies for your prizes.

  4. I bought several books for you through the bn clearance sell. I’ll do a post next week sometime. Let me know what else you want me to do. You know I’m up for anything!!

  5. Jen, that’s awesome! Just finish up your stuff, you have plenty of time you can help me out in the future!

    Lori and Angel, I know I can always count on you guys, thanks for being such awesome and supportive friends!

    And Melissa, I emailed you and I can’t wait to hear back from you! I was so excited when I saw your comment. I completely believe in Fate. I was bawling when I saw your comment (I cry easily) but it was like a sign that I really am on the right path. It just feels right and I feel like I HAVE to do this. I don’t know, but some unseen force is pushing me! So I’m happy to take any and all support!

  6. I have about a handful of books i can give…BUT i can support this and try and get more people intrested i’m great at hazzlin people to give me their books :)

  7. This is awesome, if you don’t mind I’d like to post this on my blog, and on my Facebook because I know a lot of people who would like to help with this.

  8. I will help as well. I can donate a few books from Usborne Books as I am a consultant and I will ask some friends who are too. If you would like I could set a E Show up if any one orders you could earn in sales even more books as if we get $85.00 that gets you $15 and I will offer prizes as well and I can list it on my Blog if it would help you out.

  9. I already knit for Pine Ridge, but I’d be happy to donate books .. I have two boxes that are set to go out .. I will go through and see which ones would be best to send out. Email me the shipping address at knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com.
    If there’s a specific deadline, let me know, as I can always add more as I go.

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