Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sinte Gleska University... and warm weather!

Okay, I'm a bit frustrated by the fact that the layout I see when I'm composing an entry is so different from what the screen looks like when it's all done... Nevertheless, here's another post with photos! :P

I want to show you a little bit more of the place where I'm living and studying this month. I'm living in Mission, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Reservation. This map shows both. We are not far from Pine Ridge reservation, which those of us who remember the 1970s will recall made some dramatic headlines (when people from the American Indian Movement took over several buildings and there was an armed conflict right here in the U.S.; to read more about it--from a native point of view--go here).

So. Sinte Gleska University was started on Feb. 3, 1971. Albert White Hat told us in class the other day that they started with volunteer faculty, a volunteer secretary, $10,000, and a typewriter with one letter missing. They have grown since then, but really are still small. Here are some of the places that are significant to me so far. The Lakota Studies building:
It has some faculty offices, a kitchen/hanging out place, and two classrooms. It's a log house, which apparently was the house of choice in the mid 20th-century before the government started building h.u.d. houses.

Here's the book store:
I will be spending some $$ there tomorrow! I've got homework!

And here's one of the main buildings (which I haven't been in yet):
Very 70s. Next to it is the student center, where you can get a hot lunch for $1. (Haven't been in there yet, either. I'm finding that my shy side has come out; I need to work up some courage to go there, knowing I'll be the kid in the cafeteria who has no one to sit with... shades of 7th grade! Oh, the horror!)

You'll notice that in these couple of photos I am NOT WEARING A COAT. IN SOUTH DAKOTA. IN FEBRUARY. I don't know what's going on, but it has been warmer here than it was in Ohio when I left! I am just counting my blessings and preparing myself mentally for the onslaught of freezing, which I know will be coming before I leave here...

Here is a view looking down the main street of Mission toward its one stop light:
And here is the place where I'm staying:
The quarters here can house up to about 30 people (if I counted bunks right); they host a lot of volunteers from church groups who do Habitat-type work on homes. They also run a meal program and thrift store where people can get food, clothing, and books.

Notice the preponderance of MUD in these last two photos. My boots are coming in handy even though there's hardly any snow!

And, last but not least, buffalo! Or, more properly, bison:

Sinte Gleska maintains a big herd as part of their programs. They are huge, and it's so great to see them with the bluffs in the background... I think the photos I took are mostly of moms & babies; the males are noticeably larger than everyone else.

Here I caught one rolling in the dirt; some others are looking back at me. ("Who's that white lady in the strange car?" "I dunno. Gotta roll.")
I hope you have time today to smell the roses, roll in the dirt, whatever makes you feel happy.

Ciao from the prairie,


  1. It's freezing here! Put your coat on!

    I love the photos.

    And yes, isn't just a big ol' pain in the butt that the layout is different when published than when writ?

    Annoying as hell.

    I'm sure that the coders can get around this, but I can't.

  2. Wow. Love the bison. Have a great adventure. Shy, smhy, just act courageous! :)

  3. Hi. I am from Mission. You took a picture right across the street from my old house! Cool. You can check out my google blogger too.