When Francine Paid her dues: Community Service Hours
August 16, 2015

My community service hours were preparing, transporting, and serving meals at the Eagle Nest District’s Powwow in Wanblee, SD on July 24th through the 25th between 9 a.m. and 9p.m.

 

The summer powwows throughout the districts of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation involved families contributing to cook and serve meals throughout the day with the average count of +1000 attendants.

This summer was a special occasion, my family was conducting a naming ceremony for my young cousins. A naming ceremony is the Lakota’s’ sacred practice that gives people their spiritual names that we Lakota’s believe will be recognized in the spirit world. The ceremony involves honoring the ones being named by hosting a giveaway (handing out gifts to everyone attending), and a meal following afterwards.

My little cousins and their big day

See me? The one going back to back doing giveaway and feeding the whole powwow. Boom
See me? The one going back to back doing giveaway and feeding the whole powwow. Boom

My community service hours started in the morning with preparing and serving breakfast for over 100 attendants, a fraction of many more attendants to come throughout the day.

As soon as I opened my eyes, I was off to feed the whole tribe haha
As soon as I opened my eyes, I was off to feed the whole tribe haha

Once breakfast was finished, I spent the entire afternoon preparing meals (such as peeling potatoes and eggs while delivering pies in between).Dinner was served by 6 p.m. for everyone present at the powwow. The serving was anything but brief. The line for the meals extended practically halfway around the outside of the powwow circle. After everyone finished their first plate; The line for seconds quickly ensued and was stretched out with more people coming for leftovers. My family (immediate, extended, and in between) and I did not finish serving meals until 9p.m.

The night ended with "Tiny Tot Special"

My community service shift was straight through 9 to 9, a guaranteed 12 hours in a day. The naming ceremony was a success and just about everybody attending the powwow had their meals and enough leftovers for themselves and their families. Serving my hours has given me a more sense of connection to my community and also greater insight to my culture’s traditional values of generosity by serving meals and assisting with the giveaway.

Normally, I bet my fellow interns have successfully picked their service projects; meanwhile, I feel like my service project picked me