Since living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lot of the regular events that take place over the summer. Many of them I still haven’t uploaded all the photos from yet! But I have to say that my favorite by far is the Wazi Paha Festival which took place on the Oglala Lakota College Pow Wow Grounds.
There were so many things to enjoy — fresh garden veggie contests, tug-of-war, sack races and pow wow competitions including Switch Dance where the men and women swap regalia and dance routines. That was probably one of my favs.
My friend Corey is in the center of this photo in the jingle dress he made. The Men’s Switch Dance was a fun competition to watch!
A little later there was a jalapeño-eating contest and I don’t know what got into me (probably the Texas roots) but I entered it. My friend Shannon took photos and I proceeded to be handed about 10 small jalapeños. Each contestant received two large peppers but they ran out of the large ones by the time I decided to join the contest. Other than one other person, (standing next to me in this photo) I was the only one who had to eat a bunch of small ones to make sure things were fair. You can see my response to that below.
Once again I forget my camera! Yet another cell phone pic.
This was my first Mother’s Day away from Texas. There was one year I worked for a small newspaper in North Platte, Neb. But that was one time in my 35 years. I know I’m not a kid and that Mother’s Day is a big commercial, consumer-based holiday…but it would have been nice to have seen my mom. I’m a 30-something though and seriously, you aren’t always going to see your mother on Mother’s Day — especially while chasing your dreams. Or just chasing experiences. I haven’t decided which I’m chasing yet!
Well anyway, this was a different kind of Mother’s Day. It has been bright and warm lately around South Dakota. We finally thawed out and seeing the sun again. The familiar golden undertones of sun-kissed skin have returned. The air is so fresh here. You just breathe in and it’s like bringing the purest form of nature into your lungs.
My friends next door were having a cookout and invited me over. I love any reason to be outside. But really, no reason is needed when it isn’t freezing anymore! Their land is lovely. It stretches for quite a ways and sprawls across hills. There is a creek that runs through and the water is lined with currants. We took a walk around the land and up to the hill where their family gravesite is located and spent some time clearing away plant debris. It was a nice evening and I imagine a beautiful way to honor their matriarch.
I just feel blessed to be invited to places and getting to know people here. It is a different world with so much to discover and appreciate. Even amongst some of the harder things one might expect from a reservation. But what is a definite is the strong sense of family. People at least make a point to spend time with each other even in busy times and busy lives.
For the first time in a while, Miss Tiger Lily gets to be outdoorsy. I am trying to be OK with her getting dirty. She’s such a prissy thing to me. Bossy, but prissy.