Pine Ridge

Knife Chief
see info below

Course Details

DATES
TBD

8DAYS

Arrival City
Rapid City, South Dakota

SStS partners with the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society to support projects that preserve Lakota traditions and enhance spiritual and economic self-sufficiency.

The SStS Pine Ridge course occurs on a Native American reservation, which is home to 26,000 members of the Lakota Nation. After arriving in Rapid City, South Dakota, students will be greeted by our non-profit partner, the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society. For a variety of historical, geographic, political, and economic reasons, the Pine Ridge Reservation is the second poorest county in the United States. In the midst of these challenging circumstances, the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society is working to reclaim 1800 acres of their ancestral lands in order to restore the buffalo herds that once roamed freely on the Great Plains. It is their vision that reclaiming this land and reintroducing the buffalo will better connect the Lakota people with their ancestral home for both economic and cultural reasons.

While in South Dakota, the group will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the leaders of the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society as well as youth from Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC, two local nonprofit organizations. The primary focus of their project will be helping to support various initiatives on the reservation from constructing a playground, to working on the buffalo pasture, to preparing for and supporting a local community event. During part of the project phase, participants will camp in a ponderosa forest close to where the Knife Chief holds their annual Sun Dances. SStS students will also have the opportunity to participate in traditional Lakota ceremonies. During their time in Pine Ridge, they will learn about how thoughtful and committed grassroots leaders are embracing traditional Lakota beliefs as a means to address modern challenges.

 

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Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous, 5 being the most rigorous.

4
LEARNING SERVICE
The groups primary focus will be helping to support various initiatives on the reservation from constructing a playground, to working on the buffalo pasture, to preparing for and supporting a local community event.
5
CURRICULUM
Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.
2
TREKKING
While on the reservation, the group may explore cultural and historical sites such as Wounded Knee on foot. They also might hike in the grasslands while working on the buffalo pasture. Additionally, they will climb a mountain in the Black Hills that is sacred for the Lakota.
4
LIVING CONDITIONS
The group will camp in tents while on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
3
ON THE MOVE
After arriving in Rapid City, the group will drive for a couple hours to the town of Porcupine. Then, they will drive to various historical sites throughout the week.
2
REMOTENESS
Throughout their time on the Pine Ridge Reservation and in the Black Hills, the group will be staying or camping in rural and sparsely populated areas.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day, drive to Porcupine, introductions with the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society, Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC

Day 2

Orientation about the mission and goals of the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society, Project Venture, and Thundervalley CDC

Day 3

Service work (building a playground, assiting on the buffalo pasture, helping at a local school) alongside youth from Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC

Day 4

Service work (building a playground, assiting on the buffalo pasture, helping at a local school) alongside youth from Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC

Day 5

Visit to the Blackhills

Day 6

Service work (prepaing for a local community event) alongside youth from Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC

Day 7

Service work (assisting a local community event) alongside youth from Project Venture and Thundervalley CDC

Day 8

Departure day

Pine Ridge : In Three Phases

1

THE 5 LENSES CURRICULUM

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (30 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of the group.

2

PARTNERING WITH NGOS

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.

3

POST TRAVEL ADVOCACY

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

Travel Journal

During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Pine Ridge program from the important viewpoint of our students.

Compassion

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=""]Compassion encompasses our entire trip; it is present in our group and in the Lakota people. The twelve of us were brought together by a common feeling of compassion for the Lakota. The healing camp and Anpo Wicahpi (Morning Star) Pine Ridge Girl'...

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Tenacity

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=""]“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”-Harriet Tubman As mentioned in the last post, we learned that one of the six p...

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Wacantognaka (Generosity)

We began the afternoon by collecting bundles of wild sage, which was later used in a cleansing ceremony for Lakota youth who had suffered from trauma. After the children were cleansed, and the older men finished their inipi (the rite of purification), we entered the inipi for our own experience. The...

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Wowacintanka (Fortitude/Tenacity)

Yesterday we built tipis for a Lakota children's camp. We built the first few tipis, and it was fairly simple after understanding the ways to construct one. The tipis have so much symbolism for the Lakota people. The tripod (the foundation of the tipi) represents the morning, evening, and north s...

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Important Details

Cost Information

Students who attend a school that is a member of SStS’s Global Schools Coalition receive a tuition discount. To see the list of schools in the coalition, click HERE.

Tuition (students from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $2000
Tuition (students not from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $2100

SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students. Thus, we will do all that we can financially to support students whose circumstances preclude paying the full cost. If you would like to be considered for financial assistance, please indicate so on the application. Financial assistance resources are limited. Scholarships tend to be less than 50% of tuition.

Please note, tuition does not include airfare.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive fares.

Travel Expectations

Please note that we expect all participants to arrive in Rapid City, South Dakota within a defined window of time to be picked up by their course instructors. Additionally, traveling as a group inevitably includes “the unexpected.” SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.

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