Hidden America: Children of the Plains

Posted By Paul G October 11th, 2011 Last Updated on: February 16th, 2012


Meet the dreamers and survivors of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Dianne Sawyer travels to Pine Ridge on 20/20.

ABC – October 14, 2011 – 10pm Eastern 9pm Central

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Paul Ranstrom

I have always respected the Native American peoples. As a young man I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It forever changed my respect for the government of this country. To this day I am apalled and embarrassed for the failure of the government leaders to admit publicly the atrocities committed against all of the People over the generations. This country’s leadership is so quick to point out “Human Rights” violations by other countries, yet they fail to look in the mirror and see they have yet to reconcile their serious shortcomings against all Native American tribes.
Sand Creek, Washita, Wounded Knee, and manyothers that were never brought to light. Then the major theft of the Black Hills. I traveled across the plains of Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and the Dakotas. Would it really be that difficult to give back what was wrongfully taken? Is it so hard to say, “We have been wrong all along. We respect your culture and would like to learn from you how we can improve ourselves.”
The Way West is a documentary I have and treasure viewing it frequently to remind me of how not to treat others, how to respect and appreciate other cultures and viewpoints, and how to appreciate what the earth brings forth for food and healing.

Ron Deziel

Lots more research should be done on this subject and the truth should be brought to the forefront of the report and not the lies covering the atrocities of the campaigns against the People. There are many stories to be told and the truthfull ones are not in our history books. Look at all the reasons that are given for the way the People were treated including the great articles on the participation of different tribes in the Civil War. One of the reasons for the attrocities other than whites seeking land, gold, and whatever else is the fact that they chose the wrong side to allign themselves with. RRD Peace my friends


the american way is to belittle others so self looks good, native people have been and still pushed aside,thats why i joined RED THUNDER MC,its a native and only native members are allowed,hopefully with the great creator this will be some thing of the best native pride and bring us all together to help bros and sisters be proud and have some thing to walk tall with,check it out at the web site RED THUNDER MC .COM.im the north region council chief,white earth minn,and we dont steal cars and burn them…

Aaron Dixon

I would like to know if Maine is in your region? I am of Mic Mac decent, but am unenrollable to the tribe. I’m 54 years old and have always embraced my Native American heritage. My passion, sense I was 17 yo, has been riding motorcycles. I would like to know if there’s a Red Thunder MC council in Maine, or if its possible to start a council. Peace LOve and Respect


i have been monitoring other websites for comments concerning last Friday’s ABC 20/20 program. There are certainly mixed reactions from both the Native and non-native communities concerning the content and intent.

One area of particular concern to me is 20/20 gave negative reinforcement to those who stereotype Natives as drunks, on welfare, obese, destitute, suicidal, involved with casinos etc. without giving more attention to the historical causes to these effects. Granted Barbara Walters stated a disclaimer at the beginning that this was not going to be a historical broadcast.

In my opinion, I believe there needed to be a stronger historical prospective to explain to a national forum, how these Native children came into their circumstances and why they persist. This 20/20 broadcast was the highest rated in their television timeslot for a 13-week period.

Ten year’s ago a similar program aired. Sadly, only the names and dates have changed.


I thought it was good, but not great. To me it was typical of most documentaries in that they focus too much on the problems and only talk ever so slightly about the solutions or at least what is being done. This of course is disregarding the parts that were about the specific people that they followed, as they did a great job on them.

Ken Chiancone

“Until this country admits to itself the genocide perpetrated on the Indian People of this land, it will not be free of guilt, and will not know how to make amends. This country must admit its truth to itself. Until this country understands and accepts the Historical Trauma experienced by Indians, both Rez and Urban, then nothing will change. The only way it will change is if Indians do it ourselves, and change it ourselves.”
A friend back home in South Dakota

As an Indian Lawyer I know once said to me:
“This is going to be the century of the Indian. We are going to college and we are going after our land, water, mineral rights. Although they have tried, they cannot take away the most important part of us. Our culture. It has never disappeared. That has given us the strength to do now what we must to save our People. Now we use what we need from the whites to get back what they took. It is time we take it back, before they destroy all of it.

And as Don Coyhis says
“Culture IS prevention.”


At least those that are in poverty are getting attention. This can be huge in their eyes, we haven’t seen the show yet, but this could be an opportunity to shed light on the conditions that some reservations are in and bring the needed attention for help.
I agree they should do a special on the balancing of our two worlds! Our culture is alive and is the most promising attribute that our lives dwell on. Poverty or not.


I totally understand you and I agree !


We don’t live in poverty if that’s the impression they are trying to make. One thing they don’t know is that there are some of us refuse to reform to they way they see fit. Two different set of rules for a different breed of people. We are two world’s apart. As far away from one point to another. That’s how they are though. As always, they very easily portray us to be the bad guys. They just can’t and won’t change. This 20/20 show will be pitiful.


I would agree, though I might be considered one of them. I
can not comment on the finacial wealth or lack of, having never been to Pine Ridge, but to me, those people living off Wallstreet or in their high rise apartment suites are the ones living in poverty. Where there is no cultural heritage, no pride in one’s self or people and, most improtant, no spiritual conection to life, earth and all that that should mean, than you really do live in poverty.
I am an Irishman, not a Native American, but fortunate circumstances brought my early life into direct contact with the Native American culture. I used to sit at the feet of Mrs.Pots, a famous Miwok of Ca, and listen to her talk and teach, as she weaved away on her baskets. When I was no more than 7, 8 or 9 Dennis Banks new me by name, in the days he worked and fought to get DQ University going. And I Pow Wowed every week, if I could get to one in Northern Ca. Drums and Bells, to this day, are a big part of my spiritual being. It’s how one sees thier connectedness to everything that defines wealth or poverty.

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