We build connection one relationship at a time, one day at a time, one conversation at a time. Throughout our lives, some of these relationships flourish as we nurture them, while others become overgrown with the weeds of busyness and inattention. Proctor's relationship with the Lakota Sioux on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota is one of those cherished relationships to which we have attended regularly over the last thirty-five years. Our connection grew once again as seven students and two adults (Patty Pond and Peter Logan '95) spent ten days at Rosebud learning, serving, and drinking in the rich culture of our Lakota family. Read reflections from this summer's service trip to Rosebud below.
I knew this trip would be powerful, but I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. We had some difficulties, but the group was incredible. South Dakota has been one of my favorite experiences, and who knew we could do so much in just ten days. We experienced so much culturally, but observing the Sundance connected me most deeply to the Lakota culture. When we started dancing, it felt so cool to be immersed in this culture and a deep sense of gratitude overcame me. We also participated in many service acts, but my favorite was painting at the ranch. The vibe of everyone at the ranch was so positive, everyone was kind and understanding. I also really liked cutting up the buffalo and meeting JR's '00 kids and just listening to JR talk about his life, experiences, sharing his wisdom. My favorite group moment was snuggling up under the stars in our sleeping bags as we hid from the bugs. I felt so close to this group and got to know everyone so much better. I'm not sure I'm ready to return to New Hampshire.
I never thought twice about coming to South Dakota before learning about this trip. It simply was not on my bucket list. Now that I have spent time here, however, I never want to go back home. Even writing this now as we pass through Rapid City on our way home, I miss the reservation so much. The whole experience is forever life changing, and I could not be more grateful for my experiences here and the people I met. We went through a lot as a group, but there were special moments that defined our time together. The best cultural moment for me occurred during the Sundance. The dancing alone was amazing, but the piercings I witnessed made me feel a special connection to the Lakota culture. The best service moment was painting at the ranch when we not only helped out, but we had so much fund while doing it with our little paint wars. Lastly, there were so many amazing group moments to choose from, but if I had to, I would say the last night together was the best as we played cards well into the evening and slept under the stars. I would not trade this trip for anything.
I will forever be grateful for all that I learned on this truly life-changing trip.. Although hesitant to sign-up at first, as soon as we arrived in South Dakota, I knew we were going to have an amazing time. I think the best cultural moment for me was being so involved in the buffalo hunt. Although not as intense as the sweats we did and observing the Sundance ceremony, the hunt provided further insight into the Lakota culture and why it is so important to participate in it. It was extremely hard to eat the liver, but doing it made it much easier to feel connected and involved. I'm so thankful for the people in our group, for Patty and Peter as leaders, and hope to return next year.
I have only been out of New England a few times in my life, and each of those times I never really immersed myself in a different culture. Here, it was constant exposure. I feel like I learned much from my summer reading book, Zuya, but you can only learn so much from a book. The times before, during, and after our sweats were when I really started to understand this culture. Not only did we learn, but we worked. My favorite service moment was clearing out a damaged room at The Tree of Life. When we we weren't learning or working, we were playing cards or werewolf. The best moment we had together as a group was the mad sprint into the house during a tornado warning. yes, in the moment it was not at all fun, but looking back, it was a bonding experience I will remember forever. We were cold, wet, and scared, but we were together.
This was a great trip! It was hard, but with that came joy. I did not want to eat the buffalo liver, and I did not want to cut up the meat, but it was an experience I do not regret happening.. It was so much fun playing cards and simply hanging out with everyone. The sweats were hard, but I got through all four rounds and felt amazing afterward. I think the most powerful cultural moment was the sweat as we learned a little Lakota, and it was a chance to see people doing a celebration so meaningful to their culture. My favorite service moment was watching people rescue the kittens, and my favorite group moment was last night as we slept under the stars in our sleeping bags.
I've never been to South Dakota before and it was awesome. I'll never forget the buffalo hunt and the taste of the raw liver. I loved working at Tree of Life because there was always something to do. I also loved not having my phone with me on this trip as it helped our group connect and bond over card games like bs and spoons. However, my favorite moments were the two sweats we did. I will never forget the powerful serenity, heat, and stories shared.
A Poem: Life by Lucy '20
Tree of Life gives hope
The plants needed a rope
Without support we will wilt
But don't worry, the Earth will tilt
Strength will make you tough
Persevere to escape the rough
The signs caution you to think
Otherwise you will sink
The clothesline keeps things dry
The sun can fry
Jerry Bear told me stories
Some were of the glories
A woman without a bed for 40 years
Only brings us tears
A smile plastered on her face
Occurred when something to sleep on was covered in lace
A king sized bed doesn't make you a king
But a look of triumph will make your heart sing
A purple house just over yonder
Who lives there is what I ponder
Horses will gallop and cows will graze
The beauty of the living will hold your gaze
Hold those you love near and dear
Always live life with cheer
Dance as the sun beats down
Test your body, you won't drown
The buffalo hunt is a sacrifice
The sweat will feel nice
Bring your emotions off the shelf.