From 1492 to Wounded Knee: A journey of learning & bearing witness

Day 8: Lakota medicine wheel in Art Alley, Rapid City
Day 4: "Off road" in Pine Ridge

Along with a colleague and six undergraduates, I took a journey of listening and learning over the past two weeks in a Native American studies course hosted at the Wheaton Science Station in the Black Hills, SD. Rather than approaching this as a class with two professors and six students, we were eight learners.
Day 1: Learning to raise a teepee from OLC Lakota Culture scholar

Day 1: The teepee
And, even more importantly, the "classroom" was as large as South Dakota and the "textbooks" were the dozens of people we heard from as they described their lives and the experience of the Plains' native communities' past and present.

In the midst of lamenting the horrors of Wounded Knee and White Clay--an 1890 vengeance massacre by the 7th Cavalry (Custer's former unit) and a pernicious Nebraska outpost whose sole purpose is to sell alcohol to Pine Ridge reservation, respectively--we also witnessed gleaming stories of hope.
Day 3: Bison herd in the Black Hills, back from 1900 worldwide population of 1,000
Wounded Knee was originally called a "battle" until a recent acknowledgement that the killing of 300 unarmed men, women, and children constitutes something quite different--the large red sign at the site tells the history and physically embodies the change. Note how the word "Massacre" has been nailed more recently on top, to cover the misnomer "Battle" underneath.

Day 6: The Tragedy of Wounded Knee
Day 5: Rainbows _before_ the storm on Pine Ridge
Day 10: Bear Butte vistas and prayer flags
The adversities make the triumphs all the more poignant: Oglala Lakota College, which is rebuilding the Lakota nation through education, and the creative economic development engine Lakota Funds. Over the past four decades, more than half of the teachers in Pine Ridge schools and of the nurses at the Indian Health Service have passed through OLC's hallways. At the time of the college's founding, the majority of educators and health professionals on the reservation were non-Natives. OLC indelibly changed that.

There were also moments of just pure delight: to wit, digging up timpsula (prairie turnips) and eating them raw right then and there.

Day 4: Digging for timpsula (prarie turnip) 

Day 10: Summitting Bear Butte, a sacred place of reflection and beauty.

Day 8: Visiting the ever-changing, fragile yet powerful Art Alley in Rapid City

Day 10: Bear Butte

Day 8: Art Alley

Day 10: At Bear Butte, yes: all of the bison was used

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by