•Lakota Stories

Stories belong to people. This is especially important in the case of native communities that experience the loss of control of their own narratives as a kind of final indignity. “They took our lands, our homes and our traditions. And now they want our stories.”

Our visit to Pine Ridge, offered us the opportunity to meet a wide range of tribal elders and community leaders. These are a few of their stories. We are simple listeners and only share when permission is given.

One Response to •Lakota Stories

  1. e_smith says:

    When I returned to campus, I went on a weekend trip to Craigs Mountain for Level 2 independent leader training. My body attempted to adjust from the hot, sweaty, humid sweat lodges, to the freezing, bitter zero degree weather in the Rocky Mountains.

    I thought that my time spent in the mountains might help me process some of the spiritual experiences that I had. However, I think my mind and body were too focused on trying to remain warm. I keep on questioning myself: why did that happen? Why was Mike Senior yelling phrases from the Eagle Spirit in my ear? Why didn’t I remember everything that he said to me? Is the Eagle Spirit somehow connected with my life or my future life? What was the significance if there was any? Why did I respond “no,” when Mike Senior asked if I could hear the spirits talking to me…

    I often think too hard about things, because I constantly want to know why things are the way they are. Whether that is normal or not, I just wanted to know if there was a meaning behind the spiritual experience I encountered with Mike Senior. It definitely shocked me and freaked me out, but I haven’t experienced any strong emotions from any of the ceremonies, especially during the sweat when I was sitting next to Mike Senior.

    Little things happened to me, but I don’t find meaning behind them. For example, during the sweat I was sitting next to Mike Senior, I was too afraid to look over to the left, because I thought Mike Senior’s arm was on me. A few minutes later, I quickly glanced over, and his hand was not there. Then, during the last sweat ceremony, I was struggling the most. I was singing or humming along, and all the sudden I hear my vocal chords produce a voice that I have never heard my body make before.

    Yes, I felt cleansed and clear minded after the ceremonies, but nothing has made sense to me yet, and I’m not sure if it ever will. It felt casual; there was nothing emotional or super overwhelming about it. Somehow, I even managed to fall asleep for part of one of the sweat lodges.

    I still wonder how I made it through all of the sweat lodges. I told myself that it was a combination of spending several hot and humid summers in Dallas, trying to hum along as much as possible, and holding hands and knowing that I had support from the people around me. So, I want to thank all of you for sharing this wonderful and meaningful experience with me. It would not have been the same without each and everyone of you there.

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