KILI radio, a small, but important station from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota has been unable to broadcast since its transmission tower was damaged in a spring storm. More than $200,000 is needed to repair the tower; in the meantime thousands of local residents remain isolated without their community and cultural voice. An effort is underway to raise funds. Read below for more background on how you can support this worthy effort and spread the word....
Native American Indigenous Cinema & Arts
NO MORE SILENCE: BRINGING BACK THE VOICE OF KILI RADIO
The DJs occasionally speak in Lakota; sometimes interspersing the dialect with English in the same conversation. They broadcast live from pow wows, inform listeners about healthy lifestyles, school events and tribal meetings, discuss local issues, and play music. The playlist is especially eclectic; traditional and pow wow along with with pop, contemporary Native music and hip hop to appeal to younger listeners.
KILI Radio, broadcast "high atop Porcupine Butte" on the Pine Ridge Reservation, calls itself the "Voice of the Lakota Nation." Recognizing the physical isolation of Pine Ridge and nearby reservations, you appreciate the importance of having a venue residents can tune into to keep in touch with neighbors who may literally live an hour's drive away. But that voice has been silenced. This past April a lightning strike knocked out their transmission tower, and with it, the community connection in Pine Ridge.
The station is still broadcasting and is accessible through live streaming on their website. Whereas you and I and thousands across the globe can find out about the upcoming school board meeting, a majority of those in Pine Ridge cannot. Access to the internet is simply not an option for many in this poorest of poor reservations and the fact that a housewife from Stuttgart can tune in while an elderly resident of Kyle is unable to seems more than ironic.
Repairing the tower could cost up to $200,000. Raising that amount, which will enable the station to receive a matching grant, may seem insurmountable. It's not—literally millions of tourists travel through South Dakota each year, many stopping in at the local pow wows and sipping a soda at Big Bats. These folks might be tiresome and at times obnoxious fixtures to Lakota residents but they are also potential supporters of the reservation they swarm each summer.
For that reason, let's hope KILI puts the word out beyond South Dakota and Indian media outlets. Let's do our part as well. The voice of the Lakota nation has already been silenced too long.