Sunday, March 9, 2014

day one.

Today was our first full day at Re-Member, and full is a good word for it. Not just in terms of itinerary, but in terms of content. I think today left of full of many things - questions, emotions, spiritual explorations. We drove the reservation in this bus:

We began the morning with a trip to the site of the Massacre of Wounded Knee, where over 300 Lakota men, women, and children were brutally killed by US troops. Many are buried in a mass grave on the site. A young Lakota man named Dakota High Hawk told us the story of the massacre as it had been passed down in the oral tradition of his family. I think that everyone experiences Wounded Knee differently - some feel sorrow, others guilt, others discomfort at even treading on the hallowed ground. Julianna and I spoke to a headman who was with his wife selling crafts across the street. He spoke passionately about how American culture strips all people - not just native peoples - of their true autonomy, of their resources. 

Julianne is our photographer, but you'll have to wait to see her pictures from the trip. I can tell you, they'll be worth waiting for. After Wounded Knee, we picnicked overlooking the Badlands (or as the Lakota call them, the White Lands), and then headed into a part of Badlands park technically owned by the Lakota (although still managed by the national park service). 

They took us to a spot they call "the Sanctuary" and gave us time to spread out among the giant rocks and sit, and listen. Pictures to come, but for now, here's a picture of our muddy boots:

Tonight, we had dinner at Re-Member, then we listened to Lakota speaker Enila Wakan, who first "smudged" us all with burning sweet grass in order to purify the space. He spoke powerfully, about children commiting suicide on the Rez and his experience in a mission school in the 60s and lands he was fighting to get back. He asked us to simply love the young children we encounter here. That's the real work we're here for, he said. More on Enila later, perhaps, because I am particularly drawn to his spirit. 

1 comment:

  1. Syndey, I'm so proud of you all and miss you tons. I know you're learning a lot, having a great experience and making a difference. Send my best to the team and I look forward to seeing you all near the end of March!