Wacipi doesn’t draw mixed crowd

Kristin Marthaler

Kristin Marthaler

Seeing so many generations in one room was unbelievable. The way everyone came together for one cause isn’t something you see all the time. You have your basketball games, or hurricanes, when people start acting like they are neighbors. But this was an event of celebration, a good cause, and a reason to gather.

As I stood in the stands, I took one look around and quickly realized I was the only Caucasian person standing there. Yet, oddly enough, I didn’t feel “uncomfortable” or “surrounded.” I felt like it was OK I was there, to watch this representation of their culture. I wanted to know more about it.

I also found myself wondering why I don’t see these people every day. I don’t think I could count on two hands how many American Indians go to this school, which I find quite sad. There should be a large majority. They have so much tradition and history that is being lost, that isn’t being heard in this world.

I am in no way saying that the younger generation is not sharing their history. I’m simply saying that more of an effort should be made to be one with the American Indians. Coming from Minnesota, I think some in our state view Mexicans like some South Dakotans view American Indians. North and South Dakota are the “Native American” states. The way I see them represented is ridiculous. We took their land and they don’t even get a building on campus, or a memorial. I’ve never seen a state disown their natives like this state. It’s like 1960s Alabama all over again.

In Minnesota, they are part of our school and our community. Here in South Dakota, I feel like there are certain “areas” where they are, which is wrong. I shouldn’t even have to talk about American Indians like they are someone different, because they aren’t. They have a different history, and live life a little differently, but still put their pants on one leg at a time. They still love their children and worship their grandparents.

The Pow-wow was something of excitement and remembrance; however, I just felt like something was missing. I barely saw any students or Brookings public there. Is there something wrong with that picture? Maybe I don’t understand South Dakota culture, but I’ve been here for four years, and my view hasn’t changed a whole lot. I think everyone needs to re-evaluate their cultural differences.

I’m not trying to start a fight or say that my way of thinking is right. I just want to simply point out that everyone missed a great Pow-wow this weekend. It’s not something that should be taken for granted. Nor are the people.

#1.884635:3004614607.jpg:kristinmug.jpg:Kristin Marthaler, Columnist: