Throughout the wonderful time we have spent together as a group, we have all grown to understand the concept of humility in a new way. Whether it was by learning more about traditional Lakota ceremonies, that horseback riding isn’t as easy as it seems to be, or understanding that things don’t always go as expected. Throughout all the ups and downs we found ourselves laughing together as we rethought our own perspectives on what it means to be humble.
We had the opportunity to witness a Buffalo Hunt, which is a right of passage for a young man of the Lakota community. In this experience, we were fully able to understand the shared humility and respect that the Lakota have with the buffalo, and the buffalo with the earth. The buffalo are sacred medicine to the Lakota because they eat the grasses of the plains that include sage and other medicinal plants. The Lakota, like the buffalo, are not wasteful. Every part of the animal is put to use: the tripe, tongue, and other organs used for the Sundance meals, the hide used for ceremonial robes and bow strings, and the bones are used for needles, arrows, and other ceremonial tools. This sared ceremony embodied our newfound notion of true humility.
This morning, we embarked upon a hike up to Black Elk’s Peak. Most of us have hiked before, to some extent, and we all consider ourselves to be relatively active young, athletic people. However, I believe that we were all a bit humbled by the magnitude of this hike, physically and spiritually. Trekking the same path that Lakota, such as Black Elk himself, made. We all learned that some struggles require more effort than previously assumed. Regardless, we all summited the mountain, meditated with tobacco offerings, and basked in the beauty of the nature around us. We truly have been inspired by the Lakota to be humble in this world, and for that we are all forever grateful.