Overcome life’s hardships

Moving a building from St. Joseph's Indian School.
Goodbye old friend!

We bid goodbye to an old friend today. A building actually, that has served us quite well over the years, first as an art room and primary grades classroom, and then as a storage facility for our Akta Lakota Museum. Now that the new storage area has been added on, we worked a deal with the city where we donated the building for them for storage, and they picked up the cost of moving the building. Now we will expand our parking lot so it’s not so crowded for ball games at the Rec Center or busy times at the museum.

Some days, I have a lot of interaction with our Lakota students, but today I had almost none. It was a day of meetings, and the first was an all morning workshop by a Yankton Sioux woman named Faith Spotted Eagle. Her personal experiences of encountering prejudice and discrimination made her presentation on historical trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder engaging and unforgettable.

I also appreciated the way she drew forth stories and examples from our staff who participated. Our own hurts, grief and losses affect how we respond to situations and how we treat others. When we acknowledge them and heal, we can be all the more compassionate and get to the heart of the matter. Faith went on to speak about cultural traditions, like the ceremony welcoming a girl into adulthood, that have been successfully used to help strengthen young people to overcome life’s hardships.

In the afternoon, our Child Services Team spoke about a variety of issues, including how best to respond to our Native American students when they are faced with the death of a relative. We already have an annual grief camp. A proposal was discussed about forming some TEARS (Together in Empathy And Respectful Support) teams to address grieving needs on a more immediate and regular basis. Rarely a week goes by where some family isn’t experiencing a funeral, some of them sad and tragic.

We ended the day with our safety and security meeting. You’ll be happy to note that our students did what they were supposed to during the earthquake drill, which we are required to do, even though that hasn’t been a serious threat in this part of the country for many eons. Still, it shows me that our staff is on top of things and making sure we do the things we are supposed to do.