Rosebud Reservation sunset

Getting Into the (Axe) Swing of Things

We woke up to another beautiful morning on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, SD.  After our morning walk/jogs, showers, breakfasts and coffees, we met for our group’s morning meeting, and Jane shared her quote of the day.

At 8:30, Mama Lauren taught part of the group how to properly split wood with a wedge and a sledge hammer.  This will be our primary work project for the week.  For the rest of the work day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), the remaining groups chopped downed trees from the storm and delivered wood to the wood shed, where it was then split and stacked. Others drove fence posts into the ground in preparation for the kids’ festival.

work on the Rosebud Reservation

It takes volunteers teams all summer to split enough wood to supply families throughout the winter months.

Dave was off to pick up 5 pallets of donated goods for the kids’ fest.  Chloe helped paint signs and assist in the set up for the fest.  Lisa and Jane worked on the wood pile and that group accomplished a great deal by completely filling up all slots along the back wall.  Darlene assisted the deconstruction by pruning shrubs and transplanting irises.  Katie and Rachel dug a trench alongside the house while Dick put the finishing touches on the powwow area, and painted the habitat house.

At dinner, Sage came to visit to share with us traditional ceremonial attire such as beaded pieces and a head dress. Then he showed us a few traditional Lakota dance moves like the 3-step and the hip-dab.

Today, as I do every day, but more so today on a good night’s sleep, I appreciate each of you, the hard work we’re doing, our beautiful surroundings, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
– Darlene, first-time Global Volunteer

Firewood on the rosebud reservation

Everyone is needed to stack cord wood into the rows of bins in the wood shed. Most reservation families heat their homes with wood fires.

Then, the Kids’ Fest!

Sunrise this morning was captivating.  As Lisa left the house for a morning walk, the sun was hidden behind a puffy cloud, but was so bright, it illuminated and electrified the edges of the cloud in a golden hue – an auspicious start to the day.

We prepared for the activities of the day.  The tally included 500 hot dogs, 100 sausages, two huge bags of popcorn, a dozen large boxes of cookies (900), and an endless supply of lemon-lime and strawberry soda. There were 5 different bouncy houses including 2 water slides and a boxing ring with gigantic padded gloves.

kids' fest on the Rosebud Reservation

Global Volunteer Katie North keeps the activities going as kids stop at each activity station during Kids’ Fest.

The volunteer kids designed a number of activities for the local children.  These included face painting, crafts, “smother the mother” with pie in the face, fishing, bowling, hula hooping, fishing, and bubble blowing.  Dan was our resident DJ and gave away tons of prizes.  These included hundreds of sports teams’ baseball hats – plenty for everyone who wanted them – and handouts of boxes upon boxes of girl scout cookies. Chloe led the Cupid Shuffle and was joined by some of the Austin team and some locals.  Mama L. sponsored a “coke slurping and burping” contest.

kids' fest treats

Global Volunteers Dick and Dave parcel out the popcorn treats.

At around 7:15, we started winding down, cleaning up, stacking tables and chairs, etc. All in all, it was a successful festival, with kids playing, laughing, dancing, and running around.

Dreamcatcher – the Web of Life

“Many years ago, a Sioux elder had a vision in which the great teacher of wisdom, Iktomi, appeared in the form of a spider.  As Itkomi spoke to the man, he took the form of a spider.  As Iktomi spoke to the man, he took the old man’s willow hoop and began to spin a web.  He spoke about the cycle of life – how our lives start as infants, then move to childhood, and on to adulthood.  Finally, when we are old, we must be taken care of as infants once again.

“But,” the spider said as he spun his web, “in each phase of life, there are many good and bad things.  If you pay attention to the good things, you will go in the right direction. But if you focus on the bad ones, you will go in the wrong direction.” While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.  After he finished, he gave the old man the completed web.  “See,” he said, “it is a perfect circle with a hole in the center.  “Use this web to help your people. Make good use of your ideas and dreams.  If you follow the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas.  The bad ideas will go through the hole.”

“The vision was passed on to the Sioux people, who now use the dream catcher as a web of life.  It is hung above their beds or in their homes to sift their dreams.  The good dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them… But the evil dreams fall through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer part of them.”

mural on the Rosebud Reservation

A mural on the wall of the Episcopal Mission Church.

A Team Member’s Parting Reflection

This experience was all and more than what I had hoped for and expected.  Peter was an excellent team leader and team members were fabulous.  I look forward to forever friends from our week together and hope to continue to participate in future Global Volunteers opportunities.

I love that we can be Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and even Atheists – we are all humanists who seek to do good, help those in need, and come together to make a difference in this world that can be so cruel and heartless.  I thank Global Volunteers for providing this opportunity. It’s been a pleasure working side-by-side with you all.  It’s been an experience that Chloe and I will cherish forever.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”  
-Lisa, a most grateful volunteer

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