Now that my internship with REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative through Ogallala Commons community internship program has come to a close, I can say I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to work closely and collectively with this amazing and unique initiative for the past two summers. As I reflect on my internship with the Food Sovereignty Initiative (Summer 2019), I can say that it has given me the chance to accomplish some of the goals I created for myself at the beginning of my internship, as well as conduct some awesome projects I worked on with the Initiative. Some of these projects were healthy food sampling at the Turtle Creek grocery store, volunteering for the boys and girls club through the initiative, who conducts cooking classes each week with the three clubs located on the Rosebud Reservation, interviewing three elders within my community for the food sovereignty assessments, and of course helping the initiative with the maintenance of the garden.
The goals that I set for myself at the beginning of my internship and wanted to accomplish, was having more opportunities to interact with elders and members of my community, more engagement with the youth, expand my professional network, step out of my comfort zone, improve my planning, time management, and organization skills. Conducting some of these projects helped me in accomplishing some of these goals. My community service experience and helping in conducting the cooking classes at the boys and girls club of Mission and Parmelee both allowed to engage with the youth. Sampling healthy foods helped me in getting out of my shell, engage with not only members of my community, tribe, or locals, but also even with a few elders. I was able to improve my planning and organization skills through planning and organizing interviews for food assessments the Food Sovereignty Initiative was conducting. Some of these projects were time consuming and so it helped me in practicing and improving my time management skills. Overall, the majority of my projects that I worked on each played a role in helping me get out of my shell, which was something that was both very favorable, but yet challenging at times. I was grateful that most of the projects also required me to engage and interact with people, that it helped me in expanding my professional network. I sure would not have been able to conduct most of these projects on my own without the help of my supervisor, whom worked collectively alongside me.
My internship departed me with memorable highlights, memories, successes, and knowledge that I will carry with me into my future. Some of those highlights and memories that I cultivated was being able to reunite with some of the friends that I made last summer, being able to work and harvest produce from the Keya Wakpala garden, volunteer for the youth empowerment day for my community service experience, try equine therapy for the first time, experience wild food harvesting, sample for the first at Turtle Creek Crossing, work with some of the youth at the boys and girls club of Mission and Parmelee, accomplish my goals, conduct elder interviews for the food assessments, and see the final outcomes/completion of my projects. I overall, am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to work with the REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative again this summer and enjoyed my experience. It allowed me to give back to my community. I will never forget the passion and vision I saw within the person who created and started the initiative, who inspired me to come back for another year. I hope that it inspires as much as it inspired me. I am excited to see what the future holds for the Food Sovereignty Initiative’s future endeavors, as well as the work they do with the people. I know that they will do great things. Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relatives).