Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pine Ridge Reservation

Yesterday was another full day.  
But, then, it always is in GEON.

We left CSC early and headed north to the reservation.
We passed through White Clay on our way to Pine Ridge.
It's claim to fame is the astronomical amount of beer
that they sell to the residents of the reservation.

I have read different figures --
 ranging from 11,000 cans to 13,000 cans DAILY.

That is just mind-boggling to me.

The tribe has filed a $500 million lawsuit against
the four liquor stores on up to the beer distributors.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this
and how long it gets bounced around the 
court system.

Our guide for the day, 

Carol Rempp, warned us 
that we could see people passed out on the sidewalk. 
There were three men, but they weren't passed out but I'm
quite sure they were well on their way.  They were sitting on 
the sidewalk, leaned up against the metal of the liquor store,
with their drinks in their hands.  All three waved.

When we came home, there were several sprawled out ---
obviously out cold.  Many more Lakota were walking, either toward 
or from the liquor store.  Still, every single one waved.

Their faces reflected the hard life and I'd venture to guess
that each one was younger than they appeared.

From there we went to the Red Cloud Indian School.

Upon entering, we noticed that the bricks were engraved with names and years.

Three of us spent almost thirty minutes looking at 
and photographing names and dates on bricks. 
We found as early as 1952 and a current 2012.

Some were simple.

Some were in script.

Some were carved in reverse.

And Marsha graduated the same year I did.

I loved this and I think we should do this at my school.
I'm sure the administration wouldn't mind.

But think about it .... a kid moves into your school
and they are taken out to carve their name and date
into the "community wall".  They would instantly
feel like they were a part of the school.

You can't even tell from a distance ....

From there we went to the gift shop
 and I let the "GEON green flow"
to quote Randy.

I bought postcards for each of my students.
I bought a woven bracelet.
I bought some books.
No wait, that can't be ---
I've taken a vow to not buy any more books!

With that out of the way, I could enjoy 
the 44th annual juried art show. 
 I fell in love with a new art --- ledger art

(image courtesy of

I had a very enjoyable discussion about this
with both Carol and Chris, but not at the same time
and obviously not when this picture was taken.

When the Indians were placed on reservations, those on the Plains
that hunted no longer were able to do so and didn't have access to 
animal hides so they were given ledger books to use.

I could have spent a lot more time in the gallery,
but I was afraid that I was going to miss the cemetery 
if I did so I grudgingly pulled myself away and walked 
up the hill with Lonnie.  We talked about the layout of the 
headstones and the differences in the materials.  

Markers ranged from simple wooden crosses

to Red Cloud's stone marker.

I looked for stories and found a pair of graves 
that were obviously children -
one young boy and one young girl - twins perhaps.

 I took a lot of photos for my final project.
Now I just need to get them organized.

Guess what I'll be doing next week while 
I'm at the leadership conference in Denver?!

We went to Wounded Knee and saw the site
of the mass burial

The one thing that I noticed which Lonnie said was just a coincidence:

EVERYTHING was uphill.
There was supposed to be a geocache there as well, 
but my GPS put me in the middle of the asphalt road.
I really hadn't done my homework on this because I was too
busy doing my "real" homework which irritated me because
I have yet to log a find in South Dakota.
Our next jaunt was to the Badlands.
  I had never been through there before.
It was quite the experience ---
especially at 111 degrees!

Of course we were in an air-conditioned bus,

but sadly the air conditioner quit working
just as it had for GEON 2010!

We were all thrilled to get to the Badlands National Park.

I visited with a gentleman named Conroy Corbin.

He was a sweetheart. 

 And then there was this character.

This is Tom.  He takes care of all the meal prep planning.
I'm trying to convince him to let me help him with this next year.
I explained that I'm an exceptional worker.
I think he laughed.
Can you believe that?!

We took a long time at this museum because no one
wanted to leave the air conditioning.

How would you like to meet this while you were out hiking?
Yeah, me neither!

Wouldn't want to meet this one either!

Chicken?  What chicken?
It wasn't long before Carol was pointing
out our day's journey and showing us
the road we would be taking back to our
rooms in Edna Work Hall.
 We arrived back in Chadron and were on our own for supper
so we checked out the local watering hole 
that is known for their burgers.
This nice young man who plays football for CSC

waited on us and I 
think he was a bit overwhelmed.

We finally called it a night since we had
to be on the bus by 6:00 a.m.


Cris Potmesil said...

A thought provoking day. Sorry you couldn't locate the geocache.

Mardell said...

What a vast amount of history to soak up in one day. I can hardly wait to hear more about the res. and school.When you can see and hear the history in person you have received a real gift. (once again I am jealous)

sister 3 said...

I always hated geography and history in school, but you make it seem interesting. It's sad about the alcoholism at Pine Ridge. I hope they win against the liquor companies.

I lived in Edna Hall for a semester. Maybe we were in the same room.