"Our culture is very strong," Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer said.
Brewer hopes that "rebirth" will be the catalyst for much-needed change on the reservation. "When you live in extreme poverty there are some bad things that go with that: drugs, alcohol, the abuse," he said. That's why Brewer wants to focus on breaking the cycle of poverty with business development.
Brewer and members of the tribal council say they'll make it a priority to bring commerce to the reservation. But first, there are a few barriers they'll have to break down. "The tribe has a book about this thick if you want to start a business on the reservation," Brewer said.
The other barrier isn't quite as concrete. "We get too used to handouts," Tribal Councilman Larry Eagle Bull said. Brewer and Eagle Bull say they plan to focus on youth development in an effort to change that mindset. But, in an area where addiction is rampant, that's easier said than done.
While those negative messages continue to weigh on the Oglala Sioux people, the Tribe's history and rich culture give a glimpse of hope for a brighter tomorrow.