This is our final day. Many of the student decided to sleep outside under the stars on top of the hill. It was a very nice night until the winds kicked up around 5:30am. That got them all up and back into Shelem to begin packing. We have short breakfast and final gathering of acknowledgments and gratitudes. We prayed the Sacred Heart School Prayer and the cell phones were given back. The students wrote messages to themselves when they gave up their phones. Here are a few of them:
- “I think being without my phone will be liberating. Giving myself the space to disconnect is important because it allows me the space to grow and focus on what I am doing.” ~Julian
- “Life without your phone will be exactly the same. It will maybe be better.” ~Juliana
- “You will be able to connect more with people without having to worry about insta or SC. You will survive.” ~Jaycee
- “I think I’ll be great without my phone. The only hard part is that I won’t be able to access my parents. But other than that everything should be perfectly fine.” ~Ella
- “You survived six days without a phone. Congrats!” ~Matt
- “You can survive without a phone.” ~Maisie
- “You conquered six days without electronics, hooray! You have lived a simple life. Getting away from electronics improves life.” ~Skyler
We stopped in the deserted town of Scenic as we made our way to the Rapid City Airport. At the airport, we said our “goodbyes”. All went well and the students departed for home.
Sharing similar shirts: Skyler, Julian, Jan
Group pic by Scenic’s Trading Post
Group picture in front of Scenic’s bar
Lucas in the jail cell at Scenic, SD
Olenka with another dog at Scenic, SD
Dana and Julian saying goodbye
Caroline and Olenka hug goodbye
At the Rapid City airport before departure
Jan’s quilt purchase admired by Laura and Maisie
A video view of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Thursday night the entire group came together for a final sharing. Ted posed two questions to us:
- What is the greatest gift you received?
- What would you leave behind?
Here are a few of those reflections:
Thursday – our final day on the Reservation – went well. Half our group went to work sites in 100 degree temperatures. They skirted trailers, build decks, made bunkbeds and delivered them. The tour group went into Pine Ridge to see the hospital (woefully inadequate as it is), the local public high school, Red Cloud Jesuit High School and Heritage Center, Bettie’s Kitchen for lunch, Singing Horse Trading Post, and Oglala College. It was full-day tour and a very good way to see life on the Reservation. In the evening, we spent time cleaning up around Re-Member and offering our final reflections of the week. Our smaller Sacred Heart group wrote six-word reflections (see below) and exchanged our small containers with our keep-sake item. We will mail them back to each other later.
- Easy to experience, difficult to remember (Maya)
- Children’s eyes glowing from humble gifts (Caroline)
- Friendship can travel miles if heartfelt (Lucas)
- Sharing with people and learning together (Jaycee)
- Learning about and loving a culture together (Laura)
- The unknown, hearts open, the Lakota (Skyler)
- Their weeds cannot destroy the flowers (Juliana)
- Friendship builds the bridge to hope (Juliana)
- Sad faces become happy, beautiful emotions (Matthew)
- Reach out and make a difference (Margaux)
- A week that changed my life (Kalyna)
- At Wounded Knee, a boy survived (Olenka)
- Changed, inspired, safe, happy, eyes-opened, beautiful (Maisie)
- Lakota were mistreated yet incredibly kind (Ella)
- Many different stories give new perspectives (Katy)
- Beauty in words, grace in action (Julian)
- Beautiful people and land inspired advocacy (Grace)
- I may never know, listening now (Dana, Chaperon)
- Trailers, poverty, dogs, heart, soul, service (Jan, Chaperon)
- A “reserved” people fighting, hoping still (Ray, Chaperon)
Thursday morning sunrise on the Reservation
Skyler with Blondie at Re-Member
Skyler with Blondie at the stop of the day.
View of the Reservation on tour day.
Katy with Bettie’s dog
Katy with Bettie’s dog at Bettie’s Kitchen
Lunch time at Bettie’s Kitchen on Tour Day.
Red Cloud’s grave
Red Cloud’s grave (1822-1909)
Statue of Mary in Red Cloud High School chapel
Windows in Red Cloud High School chapel
Rose window showing Jesus with Native American children.
Sanctuary in Red Cloud HS Chapel
The chapel at Red Cloud High School
Red Cloud High School; Heritage Center
Skyler reflects on his time at Re-Member and on the Reservation . . .
Monday was a great day after a night of powerful thunder and lightening storms. Lots of water fell and cooled down everything. It made the workday so much easier. We all went to many different sites to work. My group was assigned the Lakota Renewable Energy location where we toured the facility and worked in the farm area for the day. It was mostly planting and weeding.
We returned to the Feather I around 5:00pm. Dinner was hamburgers and salad. Will Peters, a Lakota high school educator, spoke to us in the evening and the students really enjoyed him. His is a song writer and singer. He sang two of his songs.
Olenka with our local friendly dog
At Lakota Solar with Patrick
A house made of straw and mud and powered by solar.
Main building where solar workshops are hosted.
Chickens . . .
Kalyna with the chickens
The farm where we planted and weeded
Kalyna and Erica plant potatoes.
A potato tower in the making.
The many horses on the Reservation
Will Peters address our group in the evening
Will speaks with Juliana
Ella, Lucas and Julian reflect on their time so far at Re-Member and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.