By Emma Thilges
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience and highly recommended. I had a great time learning about the Lakota culture. On day 2 of our trip, we went to Leadership Camp and did an activity where you wrote down the things you are proud of in your community and things you wanted to change. The Lakota youth brainstormed for things they wanted to change and came up with different projects. They presented these ideas to Steve, who reviewed them and decided if he could fund one or more of the campers’ ideas. This got the campers excited about how they could impact their community for future generations. I personally enjoyed this activity because I learned more about the culture of the Lakota.
The group I was in for this activity came up with the idea to build a science room at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee. The campers were very excited about this idea because they had been taught science on a computer, but wanted hands on experience with experiments. Mrs. Voigt came up with the idea that the campers could teach the students at their school different science experiments. The school has science kits in a storage room where kids could learn how to do them with an adult and then teach the class. This teaches the kids leadership skills they can keep on using throughout the school year. Mrs. O’Hern shared with us that we will assist the students in Wanblee in getting a science room, which is great. After Leadership Camp, we went to the Oglala College Heritage Museum Center and Wounded Knee. I learned a lot about what happened at Wounded Knee.
Today, we are back in class in La Crosse and debriefed about the trip. We also cleaned up the bikes we used and packed them away. We watched a video from ABC News about Pine Ridge Reservation. The video talked about a lot of the things we saw and learned including: alcoholism, drugs, diabetes, housing developments, Pow Wow’s, schooling, generosity, landscape, silence, and history. All of these things play a factor in the lives of people on the reservation.