ThinLine Partners With Native American Artisans
The ThinLine Lakota project is committed to helping the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through educational and employment assistance. ThinLine Global partners with Native American artisans to offer hand-crafted equipment to support those on the Reservation. All proceeds from purchases go to the artisans to aid in their journey out of poverty and oppression. Elaine Castelao, of ThinLine Global, explains her passion for such a cause:
Five years ago I met a gentleman who, while raised Comanche, found himself entrenched in western medicine as a surgeon. He had many a man, woman and child die under his knife. He spent his summers on horseback. Living off the land, the way his mother had taught him. He knew there were better ways to heal bodies, minds and souls.
Through him I began to work with the Lakota Horsemen on Pine Ridge in South Dakota. Seeing their trials in abject poverty I began quietly working towards finding a way to honor their love of horses and their humanity.
We donated thousands of books and computers to the reservation. No visible affect.
The suicide rate is the highest on our continent. The average life span is 55 years. America, how can this be?
It has taken four years for me to secure reliable artists who can find their way up out of the oppression. Many failed attempts, some of which I am grateful for. I thought I finally had a reliable artist. She said she had no money so I stepped out on faith and sent her $1,500.00 to produce some brow bands. She packed her kids on a greyhound bus and left the reservation with those funds. I look at it as an opportunity to help a desperate soul find safety.
Still. I plug away. I know donations do not affect poverty. People need to be validated, honored. And this is why I have worked for years to provide a channel for artists on the reservation to work, honoring horses and providing pieces of tack or art we can sell for them.
I sell each item for exactly what I pay the artists. And even after 4 years it is frustratingly difficult to get product here. Many live a hundred miles from the nearest post office.
If I had more demand they could see this could be a way out for them. Work, work is what changes lives – not hand outs.
So please. If you cannot spare the money for a product please share the story, perhaps your neighbor can. Honor the horse, honor the culture, we are all connected.
To learn more about this great cause and show your support by purchasing these beautiful, hand-made items, click here.