“We were never afraid to admit what we didn’t know…But we did not fear to dream big…it is your right to dream big bold visions about your future, and your right to pursue those visions.”-Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation.
The Birth of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is doing some incredible work on Pine Ridge. And Nick Tilsen is the Executive Director of the organization.
Thunder Valley was created after Nick and others were scolded by some ancestors during a sweat. They had been complaining about the way the rez is. The ancestors challenged them: “how long are you going to let other people decide the future for your children. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Don’t come from a place of fear, come from a place of hope.” And with that, Thunder Valley CDC was created, named after a spiritual circle on the reservation.
Nick Tilsen is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota. When he was five years old, his parents separated and he moved to Minneapolis with his father. He went from a predominantly Native American school district to a school where no single group made up more than 20 percent of the population. But no matter how long he lived in Minnesota, he knew his home was Pine Ridge. Continue reading