As we are reaching the end of this class, I am not as excited for block break as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely ready for a break, but I am nowhere near ready for this class to end. Although this is only my fifth block at CC, I have never felt this close to my classmates, not even in my FYE. We all shared an experience that brought us together as a class and one that we will carry with us throughout our lives. While I know (regretfully) that with time some memories will fade, I also know that some part of my experience in Pine Ridge will stay with me for the rest of my life.
For a moment in Pine Ridge I felt extreme jealousy that Theresa and Tim were being singled out for their problems. I was upset that Mike Littleboy Jr. was constantly singling them out for their problems, when I was dealing with several personal issues of my own. Thinking back on this I feel very ashamed and angry at myself. I know everyone has problems in life, and I have no doubt that Theresa and Tim’s current life struggles surpass mine. I have been so used to being involved with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and knowing the people in the tribes that I found myself being jealous of Tim and Theresa for getting to know the people in the tribe more than me. However, I finally came to the realization that this was beneficial for me. I took it as an opportunity for me to stay in the background. I prayed, self-reflected, listened, and learned. I started finding peace in my personal issues, and enjoying being a part of the background. Finding peace within myself was an important part of my experience at Pine Ridge, and although I regret and feel guilty of my initial jealousy, it eventually helped me to realize the possibility of the personal peace I discovered.
I know we all took something different out of our time on the reservation. For me, this class and the experiences we have shared together have been exactly the encouragement I’ve been looking for. I am sad to see our time together coming to a close, but I cannot express the reassuring feeling this class and the people in it have left me with. I know we as a society have a great distance to go with Indigenous issues, but I feel more prepared to approach these issues than I ever have previously.