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September 19, 2023: Long Live Lakota

We got up at 3:00am in order to meet our scheduled Uber at 4:30am. (Our flight was at 6:30am and we are a half hour from the airport.) We schlepped our bags out to the front of our apartment building to wait for our ride. Rob learned that our driver was going to be there at 5:05. Yikes! We’ll never make it!! We canceled the Uber, ran to the parking garage, threw our bags in the car, and we were off. Fortunately, we HAVE a car and therefore a Plan B. We hate to pay for all that parking but we don’t want to miss our flight.

The rest of the travel was uneventful. Our rental car is a hybrid. We have a hard time knowing if it is on or not.

While in Rapid City, we stayed in a Holiday Inn with a beautiful fountain. The water cascaded from one floor to the next.
Soon after, we drove 1½ hours to the Pine Ridge Reservation to visit the museum on the Oglala Lakota College Campus.
Marilyn, a Lakota, opened up the Lakota history museum. She played an audio presentation that takes you around the room and offers explanation of their history and artifacts.

Afterward, she answered all our probing questions such as “My children went to Lakota West High school in Ohio. Do you find that name offensive?” She seemed pleased that the word Lakota lives in Ohio and answered “No.”

Marilyn said that her parents spoke the Lakota language. The elders are keeping it alive. One of her children is learning.

Marilyn told us of her nephew who is bringing back traditional Native American foods and their preparation. He calls himself, The Sioux Chef and has produced a cookbook by the same name. He runs a very successful restaurant in Minneapolis, MN, and you must make a “reservation” well in advance.

There is a monument of Crazy Horse being cut out of the mountain near Mount Rushmore. This is the bronze cast.
The college produces a lot of Native American artists. One painting is selected for the school calendar.

The traditional calender for the Lakota was based on the moons cycles. A year was divided into 13 moons with each moon being 28 days long. Traditionally, the Lakota calender started in spring, since spring time symbolizes the start of new life.

While amongst the Lakota there many different names for each new moon, below are the most commonly used names and their corresponding month in the Western calender.

  • April-The moon of green grass
  • May-The moon of green leaves
  • June-The moon when turnips are in blossom
  • July-The moon when chokecherry’s are black
  • August-The moon of ripeness
  • September-The moon of brown leaves
  • October-The moon of falling leaves
  • November-The winter moon
  • December-The moon when deer shed their antlers
  • January-The moon when the sun is scarce
  • February-The moon of popping trees
  • March-The moon of sore eyes
What’s in a Name? Note how it went from Treaty to Agreement to Act. This is likely because Congress passed a law that no more treaties could be made with Indians in 1871.
Interesting Map of Indian Nations

We said our goodbyes. Marilyn was getting ready to host a weekly one-hour radio show that is transmitted throughout the reservation. We listened to it as we drove back to Rapid City. She gave us a shout out and thanked us for being interested in the Lakota way. We felt the same toward her for sharing so graciously of her time and with great patience.

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