By Jaxon Dobbins
Today we had many different opportunities to experience the Lakota culture and adventure around the beautiful reservation. This morning, we visited the Oglala Lakota College to learn more about the history of the Lakota people. Honestly, (I think that Taylor and I enjoyed it so much because it had Wi-Fi! The struggles of being a teenager without Wi-Fi and cell service!)
Next, we ventured out to Elroy Cross’ land and climbed some of the buttes located out there. It was an amazing experience with some incredible views, and we had some fairly memorable moments made. Taylor, Morgan, Casey, and I all got pricked with cacti in our calves. I think the amount of laughing helped dull the pain. We also watched Mr. Kammer try and climb one of the butte’s steep faces and unfortunately he didn’t make it very far.
After our climbs, we got to pick sage and make sage bundles. It was cool learning about how to tell a female and male sage plant apart. I never knew there was a difference. After rehydrating and getting some food in our systems, we learned how to play hand games with Cruz and Ethan. We learned never to play with Holly because she always finds a way to beat everyone else out.
After going through the taco bar for dinner 5 times, we went with Elroy to visit Wounded Knee Massacre. This was a very emotional and humbling experience to hear Elroy explain what he knew in regards to the Massacre and how it made him and that Lakota people feel. We proceeded to the sacred grounds quietly and then Casey led us in a beautiful prayer to conclude the visit. Brian then gave us some tips on photography and we used those skills to photograph the sunset, Badlands, and each other. It was so nice to just wind down and enjoy the scenery with the great friends we have been making here. Right before hitting the hay, we went star gazing while Ethan told us stories about the stars and how they relate to their beliefs.