Before embarking on this 10 day experience, we were all very excited to be working with children at the Children’s Healing Camp in the Black Hills. However, due to circumstances outside of our control, we have not been able to do so, as the Healing Camp was moved to a later date. We have participated in a range of activities, such as picking sage and timpsila, valuable plants to the Lakota people, and other jobs to help around the community.
We have spent a lot of time with Buzz Iron Cloud, the buffalo herd caretaker, for the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation. We learned from Buzz how the buffalo and the Lakota mirror compassion in each other’s lives. One example of this being the young buffalo learn and are protected from the elders just as we and other Lakota youth are learning from elders. We spent time in the buffalo pasture repairing fences and were lucky enough to see the buffalo herd in full effect, protecting their young calves from the dangers they thought were near. The buffalo herd was one of the most amazing things we have ever witnessed.
Over the next few days, we will be immersed into more of the Lakota Culture such as working with Thunder Valley, riding horses across the reservation, and visiting many sacred sites to the Lakota people. While working in Thunder Valley, we learned that compassion is a key aspect to them. We need to use compassion to be able to completely take advantage of this opportunity to understand the Lakota culture, a culture so vastly different than our own. By using compassion we are hoping to learn how they use their own compassion to overcome their struggle and keep their eyes forward. While having compassion towards others, we’ve learned to have compassion within our group and learned that adapting to change is difficult for everyone.