Periclean Scholars program to host guests from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota

Periclean Scholars Class of 2021 is bringing two child welfare experts from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to campus to discuss conditions on the reservation and working with children to help heal difficulties they have experienced.

Arlana Bettelyoun and Larry Swallow from the Oglala Lakota Children’s Justice Center in Pine Ridge, SD

The Periclean Scholars 2021 cohort will host visitors Arlana Bettelyoun and Larry Swallow from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota from Monday, Nov. 11, to Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Bettelyoun and Swallow are co-founders of the Oglala Children’s Justice Center, an organization dedicated to healing children at Pine Ridge reservation who are victims of physical and sexual abuse.

The Oglala Lakota Children’s Justice Center was established in 1999 with the goal to “ensure the safety and well being of [the] Lakota Children by providing a voice for them within the Juvenile Justice System.” On Pine Ridge Reservation, the second-largest reservation in the United States, the reality is devastating. The infant mortality rate is 300 percent higher than the US national average, alcoholism affects eight out of 10 families, the teenage suicide rate is 150 percent higher than the national average, and 97 percent of families live below the poverty line. The terrible conditions in this underserved and neglected community have contributed to a large population of youth who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Swallow and Bettelyoun have dedicated their lives to bettering the conditions on Pine Ridge through social work, cultural healing, and educating the outside world on the underserved community of Pine Ridge. Swallow uses the art of storytelling and the Creation Story of the Lakota in order to connect children to their culture and allow them to heal on a spiritual level. Bettelyoun has given presentations across the country and advocated for the youth on Pine Ridge through the Department of Child Protection and her role as a juvenile officer.

Bettelyoun and Swallow will visit Global classes at Elon in a Core Forum setting on the Nov. 12 from 10:30 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. and on Nov. 13 at 9:25 a.m. in the Great Hall in Global Commons to discuss the inequality prevalent on the Pine Ridge reservation.

The Periclean Scholars program is hosting the pair’s main presentation, “Healing the Children on Pine Ridge,” on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in Whitley Auditorium. All members of the community are encouraged to attend this presentation and the reception immediately following the presentation in Steers Pavilion.

Periclean Scholars Class of 2021 expresses thanks to the Fund for Excellence for making this event possible.