Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winding Down

These last two days have had so much happening and so much going on that it has been hard to keep up here in the blogosphere.  While we have had our share of down time to reflect and relax, we have had plenty to keep us busy.  Yesterday, after hearing stories from Norma, one of the residents of Pine Ridge, we headed up to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse up in the Black Hills.  Although I was excited to see Mount Rushmore (we were supposed to Saturday, but the van broke down), I had mixed feelings about it after seeing the movie "Skins" which was filmed at Pine Ridge in 2002.  To the Lakota people, the construction of Mount Rushmore, while an impressive feat, was akin to tearing a gash out of the Lakota people's land.  To some, it was more an act of desecration.  Land is sacred and much of the Black Hills is an integral part in the Lakota creation story.  In fact, I keep thinking of the end of "Skins" where red paint is thrown on George Washington's face.  Although we did not see any red paint, nor were there any crowds, as it was early in the week and in the off-season.  Plus the drive up was quite scenic and as I have pointed out, there is a beauty in the starkness of the land. 

Crazy Horse is also an impressive sight, as it is a sculpture that is still in progress since 1949 and nowhere near completion.  I first heard about this while finishing my BA at Sacramento State in Images of America with Dr. Jackie Donath.  Dr. Donath showed the series, "American Visions: Wilderness and the West" and saw a clip about Crazy Horse.  As described by one of our speakers, it is an antithesis to Mount Rushmore.  A more detailed description about Crazy Horse can be read here. However, I doubt it will be completed in my lifetime, but we shall see. 

Today, we mostly worked around the center and in the neighborhood, then headed out to Oglala Lakota College and visited the history center there.  It really hit home the impact of Wounded Knee and how much work we have to do to repent for the pain that was caused at Wounded Knee and in healing relationships, as the hurt still lingers through generations of our Lakota brothers and sisters.  But most of all, our time together is still winding down and to be very honest, I'm still trying to process everything, even to some degree why I am here, but it's obviously where God wanted me to go because had I not known of this immersion, I would have been oblivious to the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Lakota Nation.  At this time tomorrow, I'll be packed and ready to return to Washington, DC on Friday morning.  I am sure I will be processing this more as I reflect on my way back to Washington, DC on Friday night.  It really has been a roller coaster of feelings and emotions while here, but looking forward to expanding upon my observations and reflections very soon. 

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