Racism

by caitlynpickens

Friday class was a huge challenge. Usually the teachers take the kids with perfect attendance that week on field trips on Fridays, but this week we kept them for class. They were antsy, hyper, and difficult to control. At any time, we had five of fifteen students wandering around the classroom, distracting others. It was impossible to keep them on task! Finally, we just let the teachers take them outside to play, and recess lasted at least an hour.

While we sat outside watching the kids play basketball, Chanda told us about racial stereotyping and some history of the tribes. She gave examples of racism that she has encountered, especially while shopping in Walmart just off the reservation.

Anica and I did both have our first experience teaching. It was actually pretty easy. We have the kids come up in front of a projector while we give quick tutorials on the Alice software. Since they are not sitting in front of their own computers during these brief lessons, they actually pay attention [rather than surf the web or work on their own animations]. Our most successful way of motivating them and keeping them on task was using a lunar-landing animation challenge.

As soon as school ended, we packed up the car and took off for Rapid City and Custer State Park, located in the Black Hills.

Rapid City is the closest major city to Pine Ridge Reservation. It is also the closest thing to civilization as Anica and I know it, and it’s almost two hours away from Porcupine. There is one really cool alleyway which is completely covered in graffiti:

In Custer State Park, Tracy took us on a driving tour, during which we got to see buffalo — up close and personal.

Afterward, we went to the State Game Lodge for dinner, where they serve all types of big game. I had my first buffalo burger, and it was actually really good.

That night, we got to sleep in a real bed at a hotel and take real showers in a real bathroom. It was such a treat.

The best part about this time was just getting to know Anica and Tracy, hearing about their lives and how they view the world. It’s really interesting to get to know my professor as a *friend* now. I can’t help but wonder how Anica and Tracy are going to go back to a teacher/student relationship after living together for two weeks though!

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