Rock The Rez aims to empower Indigenous girls, two-spirited, transgender, and gender diverse youth to build self-esteem and find their voices through unique programming that combines music education and performance, empowerment and social justice workshops, creative collaboration, positive role models and leadership skill building. Rock the Rez is committed to serving the Pine Ridge Reservation community, and we hope to expand to serve more reservations in the future!
Rock The Rez in essence is a 5 day summer camp. At our core, we are so much more. Each day campers participate in instrument instruction (bass, guitar, drums, or vocals), two unique workshops presented by community members, and band practice. Campers and volunteers share two meals together throughout the day and create a safe space through courageous conversations and total self acceptance.
Our camp began in 2016 as Girls Rock Pine Ridge. Our first year of camp we hosted 18 campers at Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge, SD). In 2017 we hosted 15 campers at Pine Ridge High School (Pine Ridge, SD). In 2019 we hosted 14 campers at Pine Ridge Girls School (Porcupine, SD). In 2020 we hosted 10 campers online. And in 2021 we hosted 10 campers at Flat Iron Records in Rapid City, SD.
Rock The Rez was founded under the goal of music accessibility. We believe that music education should be available to all, and that safe spaces should be provided for that education. As we move forward to the future we have goals of providing childcare, obtaining our own camp van, and taking our camp to not only Pine Ridge, but Reservations through out South Dakota.
Rock the Rez empowers Indigenous youth to use their voices in a positive way. The Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people of this area have cultivated the land and survived unspeakable acts of colonization, and our children are the celebration of the survival of our people. Music is just the undercurrent of a movement at Rock the Rez, together we create an environment that holds space for the voices of Indigenous youth, Indigenous creation, and the next generation of empowered, strong, and empathetic Indigenous leaders.