by Laura Munson
Today is traveling home day. Over all, this week was filled with amazing opportunities from fun to serious topics. I think everyone enjoyed themselves learning more about the Lakota culture and getting to know their peers and new friends. The whole trip taught me so much.
One of my favorite days happened after dinner on the second day. We visited the Massacre of Wounded Knee Cemetery. That was a very powerful and peaceful excursion we made. When we got to the site there was a two sided board explaining about the massacre. An interesting fact I read was that the Natives did a dance called the Ghost Dance. It was thought by the Natives that it would ward off the soldiers but others thought that was one of the reasons for the massacre. No one spoke a word when we were up there, out of respect, so you could hear everything. The wind rustled the trees and prairie grass which made the experience ten times more peaceful and calm. We walked around looking at the head stones and the sacred prayer items set on or by the stones. I learned a lot about Wounded Knee that day. I really like going to the cemetery and reflecting on all of the sacrifices that were made.
My second favorite thing happened on Wednesday. Actually I have two favorites that happened within this day. One was that Tom talked to all of us about the difference about absolute ethics vs. relative ethics. Absolute is when something is either right or wrong and relative is when something is sometimes right or sometimes wrong depending on the situation. To everyone the definitions are different. One person may say something is right while others may say it’s wrong, it’s just up to their morals and ethics and outlook on life.
My other favorite thing that happened that day happened later at night. We went to the Pow Wow grounds and laid on our backs and stargazed. One of our Lakota friends gave a speech about what the stars meant in the Lakota culture. He told us that the stars are their ancestors waiting for them to come home, come home to where they were born after they completed the creator’s mission for them. It was super interesting to listen to him while watching the stars. After his speech we got to sit and be still for awhile. I sat and gazed and watched shooting stars and airplanes.
Overall this was an amazing, impactful trip. I am thankful for every single person I met and those who helped put this camp and trip together. I know everyone had a blast and I hope I can come out again.