By: Eliza Upton
Three Beautiful Things I Experienced At Pine Ridge.
1. At the Oglala Pow Wow we attended on our first night, children, some of which seemed barely old enough to know how to walk, danced with as much passion and energy as their elders. It was clear to me then that the dancing culture and celebration lives strongly amongst all generations.
2. One of our guest speakers, Will Peters, talked about suicide on the Reservation. At the end of the presentation he pulled out his guitar and introduced his daughter to the group and explained that the song he was about to sing was their collaboration, as she has a history with being bullied and losing loved ones to suicide. His entire talk gave you chills and not the good kind. The kind that makes you ache for the pain that he, along with so many others on the reservation, must feel. However, the pride in his voice when he introduced his daughter and talked about her graduating from high school almost made you feel okay. And when they sang together, both with tears in their eyes, the love and passion that radiated from their voices was equally captivating and beautiful. They were the truest example of hope that I have come to experience first hand.
3. The Lakota people live in a Matriarchal society. They treat their women with respect and honestly value a female’s contribution to the world. This was a refreshing environment to be surrounded by, and their example is one that the rest of our country should look at and follow.
By: Eliza Upton