Home Repair in Busby, Montana
In 1877, after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the U.S. army forced the Cheyennes to move from their traditional homeland to a reservation in Oklahoma. Many—especially the elderly—died on the journey south. Conditions in Oklahoma were so bad that many more died of disease. In September of 1878, led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife, a few hundred Cheyennes slipped away and began the long trek back north. Journeying through Kansas and Nebraska, they were pursued by as many as 10,000 soldiers and a few thousand more settlers. After months of hardship and struggle, the survivors reached their homeland—and after even more delay, the tribe was finally given their own reservation, where they now live.
Today, conditions on the reservation are still harsh. According to figures from Cheyenne Childrens Services, the annual per capita income there is only $4970. Unemployment is around 78%. 87% of the people live below the poverty line—compared to a U.S. national average of 11.3%. And average life expectancy there is only 58 years—as compared to a U.S. national average of 78—or even Cambodia at 61!
This is not a one-shot project. Group Mission Trips has been partnering with the Northern Cheyenne tribe for years—this is part of an ongoing, sustainable partnership to help maintain and improve the housing conditions on the reservation.
The area is mostly beautiful, rolling pine-covered hills and lush meadows. Houses are frame and mostly single-story. Summertime temperatures can be quite warm—make sure everyone in your group brings a water bottle and a hat to protect their heads from our harsh western sun. Things do cool down nicely at night.
The school: It’s actually built on the site where Sitting Bull and his band of Lakota made one of their final camps on their way to the Little Bighorn—which is only a short distance away. And there are nine private showers per gender.
Cultural opportunities: Once they get to know you, most Cheyenne people are proud and eager to share their culture with you. And plans are being made for a special cultural presentation one evening during the Workcamp.