Greetings! Several years ago I was attending a real estate seminar that happened to be held in a local church rec room. The info presented got a bit boring (teachers make the worst students) and since I would disturb others around me if I started cleaning out my purse, I decided to just quietly scan the big room and began observing the bulletin boards.

The usual church notices & events were posted, some Sunday School artwork, ect. Then I noticed a wall with photographs displaying charity mission trips the church members were involved in. The photos portrayed African, Asian, and South American populations that were in need of food, clean water, and clothing. All common mission and aid scenarios.

Then, just as I began digging in my purse for some chewing gum (bad student!) something caught my eye that stopped me cold. What I saw in one batch of photos were faces that looked like me!

The photographs were of a recent mission trip to a southwestern Indian reservation in America. There were children sitting on the dusty ground in tattered clothing, dirty little tear-stained faces looking into the camera with blank stares. One tiny little Indian girl was wearing what could only have been a former fancy Christmas or Easter dress that was probably given to Goodwill from a nice suburban family somewhere in middle class USA. Only now the little dress wasn't fancy anymore. That image burned into my heart.

I excused myself and wept quietly in the ladies room of the church. It just hit me hard, like 'what is wrong with this picture' type of moment. What felt wrong was that there was a wall filled with photos of suffering people in third world countries and along with them were photos of my people here, in the 'land of plenty' that were in that same category.

Now of course I realize that American Indians are not the only ethnic group in America that suffer, but one glance at U.S. Census or CDC stats tells us that the discrepancy between issues of Natives and others is light years apart. Okay maybe not light years, but very vast.

Anyway, since that day, it has become my vision to start a NPO on my res in Crow Agency. However, it has been impossible so far! And shockingly due to MY OWN PEOPLE!!!

I will try to get into those details in upcoming articles somehow but for now this is just and intro! Thank you for listening, friends. Please, I sincerely welcome any questions, comments, or ideas you may have. It will help me sort this out and hopefully move forward with this 'mission.' Love, Jackie

Nonprofit organizations make communities stronger by bringing people together for a common goal. They can empower communities and make healing and transformation possible.

Nonprofit Organizations on Indian Reservations

Jacqueline Olivia Pina
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