By Aunna Carlson
Today has been my favorite day so far. I love learning, so when I get the opportunity to sit down and learn about another culture, I’m all about that. I got the opportunity to connect with a older man named Harry. Harry had just participated in a sun dance a few weeks ago. Sun dancing is a ritual where the men spend four days in the sun dancing without any rest, food, or water. Harry told me that he started sun dancing 11 years ago, and that it has changed his way of life. He didn’t have the most glowing record in the past, but by buying into the Lakota culture, it has changed his life dramatically and that he is a better man.
Harry brought his horses over for us to ride. This was a day maker. I got to ride three different horses, including a bare back type of experience. It was really hard to stay on a horse while it’s trotting when there are no stirrups to keep you from bouncing. After I was content with my horse riding, I once again talked with Harry. He was so proud of his horses and little kids that he has turned into the best “cowboys” on the reservation. He invited me to his ranch to ride whenever I wanted to. He was so generous and would have spent all night letting us ride his horses.
Leadership Camp Day 3,
By Ben Miller
Today at the reservation, I went to Wanblee and got to work on the leadership project with Ethan, Leroy and Amber. We agreed on fixing the science department classroom. We found out how we would raise money and why it would help the school. We made a poster and presented it to Steve who will tell the elders about the projects and one or more will be chosen. After the presentation, we had dinner with the campers and then attended a graduation ceremony. At the ceremony, I had my first smudging. I thought the burning sage smelled really good and felt a difference in the room when it was happening. It was more peaceful. After the graduation and the smudging, we were taught how to tie tobacco pouches and make sage bundles in the 100 degree heat. Then we got to ride one of the community member’s horses until dark. The day itself was a big success in my eyes because I felt the projects were very doable and the kids were really involved.
A Meaningful Day
By Kelsey Paulus
Today was the last official day of the leadership camp. The day started out as typical, with That’s Me. After that we did the Ears of a Leader, which entailed asking each other five different questions and remembering them to repeat back to the group. The purpose of this activity was to show that a leader sometimes needs to listen and not be the one talking. Following this activity we went onto the beach ball game. This game’s purpose was to keep the ball off the ground and to make us work together to achieve a high number. My group made it to around 80, which wasn’t necessarily the best but we worked together to achieve it and that’s all that matters. The last activity of the day was Super Olympics. The kids loved this game because there was a variety of different activities to complete. Although my team did not win, we made it through all of them as a team and had fun doing it.
Towards the afternoon, we began working on our projects to present. My group came up with the idea to have more kids camps during the summer to entertain the youth of the community. After practicing our presentation, it was time to present to Steve, who has the funds and connections to get the projects done. Our presentation went extremely well and was perceived very well by Steve. Overall, the camp was very successful. All the kids participated very well and impressed everyone with their abilities to be leaders.
To end the day, we went to a grill out with both camps, Kyle and Wanblee. Before we ate, we made sage bunches and tobacco pouches. This experience was the most authentic experiences I’ve had all trip and was very cool to see. The smudging experience was to clear your soul. The tobacco pouches are sent to the spirits to answer your prayers. Doing these activities were the reason we came out here, to spend time with the kids and learn about their culture.