By Casey Montalvo
The sayings are true, teenagers love to sleep. Luckily, our teachers have known this from dealing with us all year. They started us off with a simple tour at the Oglala Lakota College. We got to learn more about the treaties and the battles. The building was filled with colorful artwork. After, the teachers and Elroy decided to challenge us, with hiking on hills. Needless to say this was the most intense workout I have ever done in my life! Not only was there was a giant hill to climb, but a rock the size of a two story house. The only way to get up the rock was to yank ourselves up on the small footing that has developed over time. Needless to say only three students and a Lakota friend made it past the first climb up the rock. Then we went to another to climb. Sadly, I got sick from all the heat and dehydration. It was so hot that I am surprised I didn’t start on fire. Not only was the heat bad but there were so many prickly plants. I just call them battle scars now.
After the hiking and attempting to convince the teachers to go swimming, we headed over to collect sage bundles. We learned that we had to pick the male plants to create the bundles. After that quick activity we had a fierce game of a Lakota game called hand games. I’m still not sure how it works but all I know is that there is a lot of singing. My favorite part of the day was after supper when Elroy took us to the Wounded Knee Massacre Site. It was a true honor to be there and to hear about the strong emotional connections the Lakota people hold. I was also blessed with being able to be the voice of my group by leading a prayer. It was horrible considering I have never really had to pray, or pray in this culture so I was honored when Elroy asked me if I would be the voice of the students and say a prayer. I had learned about Wounded Knee so differently and learning from Elroy’s view was awakening.