Today I received an email from the folks at ONE Spirit (http://nativeprogress.org) about a young musician who will be walking across the country – yes, I said walking – to raise awareness of the conditions on Pine Ridge Reservation and to raise funds for ONE Spirit’s work there. You know how dear to my heart the Lakota people of Pine Ridge Reservation are. So you shouldn’t be surprised that I have offered to provide information about this event and write periodic updates on Dan’s progress as part of my blog.
Dan Ross is a young Illinois-based musician who can be found on YouTube.com under the guise of “goofyguitarist.” More information on the Dan and the walk can be found at ONE Spirit’s website:
Dan has a Facebook page going to garner support for the walk (from Rockford, IL to the Pacific Ocean in Florence, OR!). The link is: http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_125643704165866¬if_t=group_activity
This is the description of the Facebook group that he gives:
“In 2011, Dan Ross (that’s me) will walk from his hometown of Rockford, IL all the way to the Pacific coast in Oregon. For 5-6 months I will walk every day, rain or shine until I reach the ocean. Why? Well…I watched Forrest Gump recently and…..err….I mean I like to walk, and…I like the the ocean too, so i figured ….uuum… I guess right now I don’t quite know why I’m doing it, however I do know that once I’ve done it I’ll surely know why I did it….. Anyway, I’ll also be bringing publicity to a non-profit organization called “One Spirit”. This organization brings aid to the impoverished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The reservation contains in it, the poorest county in the United States. Living conditions on the reservation are unacceptable by most American standards, and the children growing up there have little opportunity. As I traverse the land on my epic trek, I plan to encourage people across the country to donate to One Spirit in an effort to help them raise enough money to build and maintain a youth center on the reservation, which will provide new opportunities for the children and teens on the reservation. TOWNS I WILL WALK THROUGH/BY: ILLINOIS- Freeport, Elizabeth, Galena, East Dubuque. IOWA- Dubuque, Colesburg, Edgewood, Strawberry Point, Oelwein, Readlyn, Waverly, Shell Rock, Allison, Dumont, Hampton, Clarion, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Storm Lake, Alta, Aurelia, Cherokee, Marcus, Remsen, Le Mars. SOUTH DAKOTA- Vermillion, Yankton, Tyndall, Wagner, Pickstown, Bonesteel, Gregory, Winner, Mission, Martin, Pine Ridge, Oelrichs, Hot Springs, Custer. WYOMING- Newcastle, Moorcroft, Gillette, Buffalo, Ten Sleep, Greybull, Cody, Yellowstone National Park, IDAHO- Tendoy, Challis, Clayton, Stanley, Lowman, Banks, Horseshoe Bend, Emmett. OREGON- Vale, Brogan, Unity, John Day, Mitchell, Prineville, Redmond, Sisters, Springfield, Eugene, Veneta, Walton, Florence, OCEAN!!!!!!!! “
I recently read the interview Dan gave investorideas.com and would like to share a couple of his responses with you.
Question: Can you tell us what motivated and inspired you to take on such a challenging endeavor?
Dan’s response: Honestly, I was watching “Forrest Gump” one night during the fall of 2010 when I was first struck with the idea to walk across 2/3 of the country. For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have seen the movie (because it’s a good one!), the main character spontaneously decides to run across the entire country, and it is certainly an inspiring moment in the film. Before that night, I had already planned on moving out of my hometown in 2011, in an effort to broaden my horizons and gain a new clarity of mind so that I might discover what I’d like to pursue in life; I just wasn’t sure exactly where I would go or how I’d get there. So I would say that I was primed, ready, and waiting for a good idea to come along. All I needed was a spark of inspiration. What motivates me to take on such a challenging endeavor is the fact that it IS a challenge. I enjoy pushing myself, if for no other reason than to test my own potential. Also, I believe traveling is one of the wisest things a person can do with their time and money – it allows you to learn things which cannot be taught. The possibilities of what I can learn from this journey are more than enough to motivate me to do it.
Question: You have chosen the youth of the Pine Ridge Reservation and the building of the Safe House and youth center as your non-profit to dedicate this to. A white youth from Illinois dedicating his walk to the native youth at Pine Ridge is an unexpected storyline; can you tell us how that came to be?
Dan’s response: Once I was certain that I would walk to the ocean in 2011, I began to think that maybe someone besides myself could benefit from this whole thing. After quite a bit of brainstorming, I was still unable to decide what cause I would walk for. Then, amidst the planning of my route, I noticed I would be walking right through the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a place which I knew nothing about at the time. So I did a little research, and the information I found was startling and overwhelming unemployment estimated at 87%, life expectancy of about 50 years, 90% living below the federal poverty level, and teenage suicide rates 3 1/2 times the national average. I couldn’t believe that this place was located practically right in the middle of the United States. The fact that I was unaware of the situation at Pine Ridge makes me think that most others living in this country are unaware, as well. From this point on, I was sure that I had found a just cause. After notifying One Spirit that I would like to help, we decided I should dedicate the walk primarily to the youth on the reservation. If you provide the younger generation with a safer childhood, and more opportunities to learn and grow, it becomes likely that they will want to take action to help the next generation in the same way. If all a child knows growing up is poverty, it’s easier to turn to drugs and/or gangs as a way out. I want to help show them something better.
Can you imagine doing what this young man is doing for people you don’t know?
Okay, if you’ve read any of my earlier blog entries, you’ll know I, personally, can’t imagine walking any farther than absolutely necessary, except on a treadmill – and that is an act of will.
I could get all spiritual on you (pun, get it?) and quote Christian scripture: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.” Rom 5:7 All right, don’t moan, I can hear it from here. I know Dan is not planning to die. But you get my point. This is a really big thing for a person to do for someone else. It shows a generous heart. I am impressed and inspired. I hope everyone who reads my blog will support Dan in this walk – if only by sending him good wishes or checking out his music.
I think it will be very interesting to follow this trek and see what Dan learns about himself as he tries to educate the nation about Pine Ridge Reservation and ONE Spirit.
This is a copy of the information I received today about Dan’s initial plans for his walk. If you are on his route and can support his effort in any of the ways noted, you should contact ONE Spirit directly (if you send offers to me, it will only delay things).
If you aren’t on the route, you can still support the effort by forwarding a link to this blog entry or the ONE Spirit website or Dan’s Facebook page to friends and acquaintances. The more who know about this effort, the better.
As we gear up for Dan Ross’s walk from Rockford, IL to the Oregon Coast to raise awareness for the youth of Pine Ridge, we are again relying on the help of our generous One Spirit supporters.
We are planning out the Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota legs of the walk and need the help of local supporters to provide a place for Dan to stay, help arrange for media coverage, and facilitate awareness gatherings if at all possible.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box on ideas for this. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Even if you have a contact or a lead that you would like to share with us so that we can follow-up, we are grateful for your help.
Below is a list of dates and times Dan will be passing through Illinois and South Dakota. If you are able to assist in any capacity with these stops, please contact One Spirit. If you know of a friend or relative in that area who might be interested, please forward on this email.
Chicago area volunteers are needed for publicity and awareness campaigns. If you know of a media outlet that will be able to spread the word, or if you are able to set up a benefit concert or donation drive, please contact One Spirit.
4/20/11 – Dubuque
4/24/11 – Oelwin (we have a grateful volunteer who is willing to cover this stop
4/26/11 – Wavery
4/28/11 – Hampton (we have another volunteer who is taking care of this stop)
5/11/11 – Humboldt
5/5/11 – Storm Lake (we have a volunteer taking care of this area)
5/8/11 – Le Mars
SOUTH DAKOTA STOPS
5/10/11 – Vermillion
5/12/11 – Yankton
5/16/11 – Wagner
5/21/11 – Winner
5/28/11 – Martin (We have accommodations arranged for this area)
6/7/11 – Hot Springs
6/9/11 – Custer