By Annette O’Hern, Health Science Academy Director
“Wowauncila” is Lakota for “to walk with compassion.” That is exactly what the October team of students and staff from the Health Science Academy (as well as Carolyn & Marla from Gundersen’s Global Partners) did this past week. We “walked with compassion” at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee.
We began our morning in prayer circle with the middle/high school. The day was blessed with a smudge, prayer and song. We then all went to the Lakota culture room where we had an opportunity to hear from two elders who spoke to us about “wowauncila.” One comment from an elder resonated with me: “We cannot love others without first loving ourselves.” She had us look deep inside us to find what good there is within us and what gifts we could share with others. Another elder stood before us with his hand on his heart and said “compassion lies in here.” He spoke of influences around us but we must listen to our hearts to make good decisions.
After the presentation, we exited to the TNT building where students had an opportunity to paint 6×6 canvasses of their definition of “wowauncila.” (Students also visited the Health Fair at this time.) Over 90 canvasses were created and left with the school where they will be on display for the community. May we remember “wowauncila” as we continue to journey to Pine Ridge and work within our own community.