My beloved Rez
July 28, 2016

There are 8 elementary schools on the Rosebud reservation, along with two middle schools and two high schools. There is also a tribal college, Sinte Gleska University ( Spotted Tail), which is named after a great Sicangu Lakota chief. He is also my ancestor. From kindergarten through 5th grade I attended Rosebud Elementary. From 6th-8th grade I went to Todd County Middle school, and I am going to graduate from Todd County High school which I am going to spend all for years at.

Besides Indian Health Service, we have local healers (medicine men). Some of the healing of the people come through ceremonies which were practiced for thousands of years. Such as the Inipi and Yuwipi. I’ve seen many people heal physically, mentally, and spiritually through these ceremonies.

The Reservation has a surplus of things to do: such as Swimming, fishing, hunting, working, helping ranchers and farmers, going to pow wows or other social events, harvesting wild foods, the list could go on and on. Most of the young people on the Reservation aren’t opened up to these activities. So they feel there is nothing to do. Some of my peers turn to drugs and alcohol partly because of this. All the young people need is someone to show them things they could and should be doing.

Spirituality to a Lakota is to be a good human being. Acknowledging our duties and responsibilities we have as humans. Knowing our place in the world. Being a good relative or neighbor, not to just other humans, but to the plants, animals, and mother nature herself. A big part of the spirituality of a Lakota is always giving back when you take something. A big idea that goes against our spirituality is the fact that we think we can own land. We cannot own the land. We belong to it therefore it, in a way, owns us.

Sense of Place is strong on the reservation. For our ancestors have been here for millions of years. Therefore, the sense of place is intensified for all Native Americans, not just the Lakota, compared to all the other people who have been on this continent for less than 500 years.

The culture of the Lakota has changed ever since the government starting colonizing them. They used to be very healthy and well connected to the earth. But since they were forced to start depending on the government for food, their diets changed drastically. They started eating white flour, white sugar, and cows. The culture also changed when Christianity was being forced on to them.

Hunting is a part of life for me. While hunting, I am able to see all the resources available, such as all of the foods that grow in the wild, the wildlife that can be hunted, all of the land that can be farmed to grow food on. The Reservation has a good Game, fish, and parks that well preserves the land.

As far as Food Shed goes, there is a lot of Farmers who produce a substantial amount of crops and have cattle. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe ranches buffalo throughout the reservation. But there is, any possibilities out there for food. There is a lot of land that has so much food on it. There is a lot of different kinds of berries and teas that are healthy and taste great. That is something the Rosebud Sioux Tribe could take advantage of.

History of the Reservation: At one point it was bigger than the state of South Dakota. Through all of the treaties that have been broken, the reservation has been dwindled down and split up into 9 different tiny reservation. For instance, The Rosebud Reservation is only the size of Todd County. Ever since they started making reservations, the missionaries have been trying to force Christianity onto the Lakota. The missionaries tried to take the culture of my ancestors away. Many people died, many Lakota people died because they practiced their own culture. Wounded Knee massacre, the largest massacre in U.S history, was because the government was afraid of a dance that the Lakota were practicing. They were practicing it because they believed it would bring back the buffalo. For years the government was trying to take away the culture of my ancestors, but for years the Lakota were resisted. Many were forced to turn to Christianity. Especially when the Boarding Schools started, they forced young Lakota people to go to them. They were punished if they spoke their own language there. The boys had to cut their hair short. The missionaries and “teachers” were trying to “kill the indian and save the man”. Most of my grandparents have been through this process. There are many other people, even though it was against the law in the 1900’s, kept their culture alive and practiced it. I am thankful for that. Even though my ancestors went through a genocide, they sill managed to keep their culture alive. That is some of my peoples and reservations history. You probably won’t find it in a textbook or hear about it on TV. This is what I am, this is where I come from.

Chief Spotted Tail
Chief Spotted Tail
Before and After boarding school.
Before and After boarding school.