Kitchen conversations with Lakota (Sioux) friends

Charlotte’s neighbor Mary also joined us for conversation. Both pray with quality and consistency. I hope I can be as dedicated as these two women when I promise to pray for people.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I headed out, driving down the gravel roads along the Moreau River past Whitehorse. I had a great plan to phone folks along the way until I remembered that there are places so country that there is no cell phone service in the area and none of my calls went through. But it worked out fine anyway, as I focused my efforts on seeing some of the elders.

At 91 years-old, Charlotte is one of the matriarchs on the east end having raised a large family on their ranch. Many of the tribal members work on this part of the Indian reservation ranch, although it gets harder to make it financially each year without some outside income.

Many people work for the tribe or have a job in town, which requires daily drives of 80 to 100 miles. Charlotte remembers the horse and wagon days – having to make or grow most of what they needed … or go without.

Charlotte’s neighbor Mary also joined us for conversation around the kitchen table. I was humbled to learn both have been following my progress and praying for me; praying with quality and consistency. I hope I can be as dedicated as these two women when I promise to pray for people.

Louie is a widower, a World War II vet, and living independently, relying on himself to get around. His house was a beehive of folks coming and going as his family prepared to have the Sun DanceWiwanke Wachipi – on their land. Tree Day marks the first day of this special event. The prayer leaders selected a cottonwood to cut down and move with care by hand to the center of the dance grounds. I saw lots of relatives and friends coming and going, but also a little treasured one-on-one time before bidding Louie adieu.

I found Bunny home watching her grandchildren that I got to meet for the first time. Having been away quite a few years, I haven’t been a part of the births and baptisms as I once was. But when you sit at someone’s kitchen table, the passage of time evaporates and you get the chance to catch up with family and community happenings. I always learned the most about what is important to people around the kitchen table.

Tugie is 89. She’s lived on her land for over 60 years, and recently sold to neighbors. They told her she can live in the house for however long she wants and stop in daily to check on how she’s doing. Betty Anne was there as I pulled up, and it was so good getting to see her as well. Tugie still gets around pretty good on her own; hearty souls these folks are that work the land so many years.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

4 thoughts on “Kitchen conversations with Lakota (Sioux) friends”

  1. Well..! THIS is the way life is supposed to be..! And there is nothing so good as putting your feet under the kitchen table at home..! We can see that you understand that..!
    You are thinking that you are writing blogs of “newsy”stuff..and you aren’t. What you are writing are the dynamic principles of life and truth that will withstand the centuries. What you write is what the world needs to hear..forever..!
    We love your blogs, and we believe you need to publish. You transfer what you feel and understand with a concise clarity..and when you “go home” matter where that is..we all go with you.
    Keep up the good work..
    Know that we love you..and that we thank God daily that you are in our lives..
    And Our Prayers go with you..
    Mia and Bob

  2. It is so inspiring to read about all these wonderful people that have truly earned their own ways in life, and are truly the earth,and,makers of today. I only wish that the children of today,…that have not’, been taught so well, could just spend one weekend with your group, and have to earn their own way, for just one day. I also wish I were BLESSED enough to be there with your people,and also help. I am
    PRAYING for each of you though,and too, that our GOOD GOD’, continue to BLESS US, with Fr.Steves’ presence, that is so needed.

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