During assembly this morning, guest Elena Terry, Executive Chef/Founder of Wild Bearies, a non-profit community outreach catering organization that supports participants to overcome alcohol and other drug abuse issues or emotional traumas, shared a story about her work gathering indigenous seeds and the importance of understanding the history and source of the food that nourishes us.
All relationships need nurturing, and Proctor’s 2022 South Dakota Summer Service Trip strengthened our Rosebud connections. Fourteen students and three of us as faculty leaders learned so much through painting and sprucing up a community center in brutal heat, jostling in the back of pickup trucks in search of a buffalo herd, working at an equine therapy ranch and riding horses, and sharing cool evening meals in our campsite. We all came away with a better understanding of ourselves and our country through observing life on the Rosebud Reservation. Below are some of our experiences.
In Indigenous communities, strong medicine means that you are in the presence of something that morphs and changes the very core of who you are, or even a situation. For many indigenous communities, healing is in the land. It’s even in the rocks and air. Just about everything possesses some kind of medicine or teaching from which a person can learn. Powerful medicine transforms. It heals.
Today’s offering for The Journey comes through the voices of John Around Him and Lori Patriaca ‘01, both of whom have served a critical role in helping our Proctor community connect with, understand, and become a part of the Lakota communities of South Dakota, continuing a legacy of connection first made by John’s father, John Around Him, and late faculty member George Emeny in the 1980s. John spent last week visiting classes, spending time with students and faculty, and immersing himself in all that is Proctor. Enjoy John and Lori’s offering below.
Each year on Indigenous Peoples Day we pause to recognize the Abenaki people who lived on this beautiful land before European settlers colonized it. We look out from Balanced Rock toward Mount Kearsarge (g’wizawajo in Western Abenaki meaning Rough Mountain) and honor those who first called this valley home.
“Voice can take a long time to come all the way out, brother.” Bobby said. “Be patient.” These words jumped off the page of Tommy Orange’s There There as John Around Him discussed the book with Proctor’s American Literature students. This notion of voice, of who has the courage (and privilege) to share their voice, and who will listen when they finally do, cuts through an American Literature curriculum to the core of how we empower students to live lives that matter.
Much of the country enjoys a federal holiday on the second Monday of October each fall. Operating independently of a regular federal holiday schedule, Proctor does not observe Columbus Day. Instead, we have chosen to acknowledge the ‘discovery’ of America by European explorers by recognizing and bringing awareness to the culture and beliefs of the indigenous peoples of this great land. Sunday’s indigenous peoples celebration at the Proctor tipi reminds us of the importance of continuously bringing different perspectives into the Proctor community.