For the first IN OUR HANDS adventure, a group of 8 people traveled to Pine Ridge, South Dakota April 30-May 4, 2017. It was an amazing, eye-opening, and humbling experience. We learned from the elders and teachers, we helped in the afternoon during "children's time" at the retreat center AND we shared our thoughts every evening during "talking circle".
In 2018, we once again made the trip to Pine Ridge:
"WHEREAS HER birth signaled the responsibility as mother to teach what it is to be Lakota therein the question: What did I know about being Lakota? Signaled panic, blood rush my embarrassment. What did I know of our language but pieces? Would I teach her to be pieces? Until a friend comforted, Don’t worry, you and your daughter will learn together. Today she stood sunlight on her shoulders lean and straight to share a song in Diné, her father’s language. To sing she motions simultaneously with her hands; I watch her be in multiple musics."
- Layli Long Soldier-Lakota poet and writer
Serving and learning in Pine Ridge is a study in contrasts: The rugged beauty of the earth and sand carved into buttes...mile after mile of “rez” land not-well-suited for human habitation or farm...snippets of American history so horrendous no writings can really tell the story...people who have survived and are re-building what it means to be Lakota...people without jobs and people with great talents...poets and singers and storytellers and painters...
Our week in Pine Ridge included deep conversations, playtime with children, meetings with artists, visits with entrepreneurs, beautiful drives, and simply handing out cups of coffee. Traveler Dianne Heapy writes about “coffee time” in the morning: “As I handed each person a hot cup of coffee at the door each morning, I was aware of the Presence of Great Spirit/God while sharing Christ’ Presence as we held the cup of coffee for a moment together, a Holy Eucharist moment. I was privileged to participate in walking with some of the residents of Pine Ridge, often just for a brief moment, sharing the earth journey as our paths merged.”
We felt greatly privileged to share our lives and experience. Here are some moments from our larger journey at the rez...