Red Cloud to Bridgewater - Student Blogs

Students participate in experiential research at Bridgewater State University.

Day 1 // Day 2 // Day 3 // Day 4 // Day 5 // Day 6 // day 7 // Day 8 // day 10 // day 12

Eight rising sophomores from Red Cloud Indian School—Joshua, Emily, Masina, Kane, James, Lala, Lorna, and Liz—were selected to participate in the Bridge Program at Bridgewater State University (BSU) located in Massachusetts. “Having RCIS students at Bridgewater was an incredible experience for all," said Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson, Ph.D, associate professor of English and faculty associate for the Pine Ridge initiative at BSU. “The students were engaged, curious, caring, respectful, and worked hard to make the program a success. It was a joy to witness them experiencing many first times: the train to Boston, dorm life, and swimming in the ocean.”

These eight young men and women took a course designed to give students practice in reading, writing and research. They experienced the early histories of colonization, understood the conflicts between settlers and Native peoples, and the early beginnings of the United States. The students visited sites where historical events occurred, these trips are known as experiential research. "In the classroom and while on field trips, they worked hard to understand the living history they were experiencing. We worked on writing in groups, with partners, and individually. They conducted research to support their experiences in historical places." Dr. Anderson said. 

In addition, they learned how to become stronger readers and writers, they learned rhetorical strategies and became the authors of blog you are about to experience. "Together we revised each blog entry several times, so they learned the importance of revision. Overall, they (and I) are proud of this work, and we hope readers will enjoy their efforts," boasted Dr. Anderson. 

JULY 19 // DAY 1 - Boston Bound

We had to get up around 4:30am to get to the airport in Rapid City. All of us were feeling tired during the bus ride to Rapid. It took two plane rides just to get to Boston. We took a plane from Rapid to Denver, then Denver to Boston. Six out of eight of us had never flown on a plane before.

“I was excited for the plane ride because it was my first time riding a plane. On the long trip to Boston from Denver I got really tired, but I was too excited to stop and sleep. I loved the view!” said Masina. 

“In the Denver airport we used the moving walkways which are like flat escalators and a few of us almost fell over a few times when we stepped onto them. It was really funny,” added Josh.

After getting our luggage, once arriving in Boston, we took an hour drive to Bridgewater State University and finally settled into our dorm rooms after our long trip. One thing we noticed was that the humidity was different from what we were used to during summers in South Dakota. Since Bridgewater is near the Atlantic Ocean the humidity was really intense. “The humidity was ugly and a bother. I was not used to it,” Kane commented. 

At the dorm we met new people from different parts of southeastern Massachusetts. After that we were introduced to our teams: the girls are on the Cheetahs and the boys are on the Cobras. Then we ate and went on a scavenger hunt to find different things around the campus and take photos of them. “Remembering new names was difficult,” Josh reflected. 

Elizabeth really enjoyed hearing folks from Massachusetts speak.“I really like the Boston accent — I had never heard how people from Boston talked. When I did hear the accent, I was actually trying to do the accent myself. Another thing is that the time change really got to me. I couldn’t sleep when it was time to go to sleep. The college is really interesting, but it was a lot of walking during the first day. The activities here are fun and helped me get to know the people I was grouped with.” 

The program we are involved in has us pretty well taken care of, and we have many activities that we are participating in. We are having a really great time and are thankful for this opportunity. “Five days a week we have recreation time. There are many activities. We can play basketball, soccer, dodgeball, and ninja (a theatre warm-up activity). We also have a game room that is open to everyone during recreation time,” Lorna said.





JULY 20 // DAY 2 - Oh No A Summer Class?

On the first day of class we were introduced to the class that we were taking called Experiential Research. For this class we take field trips around southeastern Massachusetts to places like Plimouth Plantation, Boston, Harvard, and the Granary Burying Grounds where John Hancock is buried. Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson is our professor and on our first day she explained some of the history of the surrounding area and what to expect for the next two weeks.  

On the way to CVS to pick up some missing items, “Rapid City confiscated my toiletries because I had sprays that had a chance of exploding,” Kane explained, we walked past the First Cemetery, which goes back to 1716, and Joyce told us a few things about the headstones. It was interesting to think about because in 1716, Lakota people hadn’t even encountered the settlers yet! We arrived to CVS and found the things we needed. When we started walking back to campus, we walked to the Bridgewater sign in front of the university and took a few group photos. Joyce showed us more of the campus and then we went back to class and watched a documentary called After the Mayflower to prepare us for our trip to Plymouth later. When class ended, we went to lunch.

As a group, we went to visit Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, home of the New England Patriots. The stadium has a Hall of Fame and artifacts like their oldest football. They also had games you could play, like kicking a football into a screen and seeing if you can make a goal. We also watched a movie about their history and how the team was formed. After that we went to a conference room where ESPN and other media people work during the games. We did an activity where we get into groups and create a football team with five players and a budget for that team. James is a big Patriot’s fan. “The Patriots are going to win another Super Bowl again and again and again till I die”





JULY 21 // DAY 3 - Starting Where It All Started

First thing on Tuesday morning we drove to the Quincy Adams T stop; we bought our tickets then waited for the inbound train. It was a first train ride for all of us. It was a little bit scary. Some people had to sit and some had to stand. It was fun at first until it got more crowded. I imagine people who work and go to school in the city have to take that train every day!

We got off at the Park Street stop and found ourselves on Boston Common. It is the oldest park in the United States! It is also the start of the Freedom Trail. The trail takes you on a historic path through the city. We saw the Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, the Old State House with the lion and unicorn on it, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall which houses Quincy Market Place. In the distance we could see the steeple of the Old North Church where Paul Revere hung the lanterns to warn that the British were coming. The cemetery was cool because it had a lot of the founding fathers buried there including Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and the Boston Massacre Victims. 

We ate lunch at Quincy Market. The food was expensive and there were a lot of people. The pizza was the least expensive but greasy. You could taste a sample bowl of chowder which was good…no one was watching so I kept eating it!

After we ate, we walked to South Station and took the T to Harvard Square. Most of us were excited to see Harvard University. We got to take our pictures in front of the library and the statue of John Harvard

Harvard built an Indian school in 1650 near where Matthew Hall stands today. Harvard was going bankrupt so they asked the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England for the funds. The Society decided to grant the funds on one condition: that they be used at least in part for the spiritual and educational advancement of local Native American students. Harvard was willing to do this in order to get the funds. The Indian College was home to five Native American students, however only one graduated at that time. His name was Caleb Cheeshahteaumuek and he came from the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe. Joel Iaccoombs was also student but died before he could graduate. They awarded Joel with a posthumous degree in 2011.





JULY 22 // DAY 4 - Welcome to Wampanoag  Territory! 

We left the campus around ten thirty, after about an hour of class. We arrived at the Plimoth Plantation at around eleven thirty and it was beautiful because we were surrounded by many trees. Before we actually got to experiencing how the Wampanoag and Pilgrims lived, we went to the craft center. At the museum there was a Abenaki Native named Bob Charlebois, who was making headdresses out of porcupine roaches and another man making string out of silk so they could repair torn clothing for the pilgrims. After going through the craft center, we went outside to experience how the Wampanoag lived during the 17th century.  

Before entering the historic area there was this cardboard cutout of our tour guide, Darius Coombes, dressed in traditional Wampanoag male clothing with a plaque next to him talking about stereotyping Native Americans. In the past, when some people would visit the plantation they would war whoop and say “hau”. After they put the cutout up, though, it stopped over time. When entering the Wampanoag village, it sort of felt like home because there were similarities that made us feel comfortable being there. They asked us Lakota students to step forward and Dan Shears presented medicine bags to us. 

Going through the village, we saw the winter house (wetu) and summer house. In the summer house people were rarely inside because they could just sleep under the stars. They would go inside only when it was necessary, like during thunderstorms. After going through the Wampanoag village, we then went to the pilgrim village where they had Pilgrims act as if they had just arrived in 1620 and were living here for a while. It was really interesting to see and hear. 

After leaving the plantation we went to the waterfront to see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II. The rock was smaller than we expected. Some people thought that the Mayflower was an actual flower, so it was really funny to see their reaction when they found out it was a ship. We learned that it carried up to a hundred and fifty people over to the native lands. The Mayflower was also smaller than expected. We were disappointed we didn’t get to ride the boat. It was interesting to see the history of that time period.





JULY 23 // DAY 5 - Wampum Weaving

Thursday was a class day, where we went over the past few days on where we had been and what was important about the places. We also made connections to some of the documents we have been reading. Also we talked to a college professor named Dr. Jenn Manak about the differences between the Wampanoag and the Lakota. Some of these differences include their houses, diets, language, and the way they hunt. In the afternoon, we tried wampum beadwork. It is interesting to see how their beadwork goes. First, you have to acquire Quahog shells which you have to break up. Then you have to round them to make the bead form. Last you make a hole using a bow drill. To make a belt you have to use deer skin laces and any type of board. You have to put beads on the sinew and then do multiple complicated ties, but in the end you get something beautiful. 

After dinner, during the general assembly we had a speaker who told us his life story. His name was Chris Herren. It started when he was a basketball star in high school. He got accepted to play basketball somewhere down west at a college, but he had been addicted to drugs since middle school. After completing college he got drafted as a second round pick to the NBA. However, after his first post conference he admitted that he was still addicted to drugs, and then went to rehab. He did not learn from his mistakes and did it again and again until he was found passed out crashed in a car. He got kicked out of the NBA and is now a motivational speaker and is seven years sober. Now he wants kids to learn from his mistakes and make it in life.





JULY 24 // DAY 6 - Our First Dip in the Ocean!!

The beginning of our Friday consisted of waking up early, getting ready, and walking over to breakfast. After we are done eating we walked to the van and took off to Cape Cod to go visit the Mashpee Meeting House which is a small museum operated by the Mashpee Wampanoag people. When we arrived Kitty Hendricks-Miller greeted us and gave us a wonderful tour of the museum and the whaling exhibit. We all learned that many of the Wampanoag men were whalers in the 1800’s and we also learned about their history and their culture.  

After the inside tour we went outside to go and sit in what they call a wetu (house). Now this was the first time seeing where they slept in person so I was amazed. She gave us a nice description of how it was built and how they needed mats to cover the inside walls to keep the warmth in. After she described what a wetu was and how they lived she let some of us smash corn for the chipmunk that lived in there. When no one else wanted to smash corn we left to go eat at Dino’s. 

Dino’s is a place that has subs, wings, and pizza. Most of us had the pizza and it was delicious. After everybody was finished eating we headed straight for the South Beach on Cape Cod. When we got there some of us had to change into our swimsuits and others already had them on. The beach itself was very beautiful and very stunning to us.  

We thought the ocean was very beautiful because you can see very far just like you can see very far in the plains. I really liked it because it was my first time and it was a good experience except for the salt water because of the taste when it gets in your mouth. We swam for about an hour and a half because we wanted to find some quahog shells so we went to another beach which had a lot of beautiful shells. We all found some quahog shells and some other really pretty shells. By the end of the day everybody was exhausted and tired and had a lot of shells. All of us want to go back to the beach and swim or maybe just look for shells. I know that we all had a good time that day and most of us want to go back to that day and relive it again. That’s how much fun we had. 





JULY 25 // DAY 7 - 2015 Olympics

This morning we were able to sleep another hour because it was the weekend. We woke up around 8:00 and went to breakfast. After breakfast we got into our teams and we went and did some activities. Only two teams at a time could do the Olympics. When our team was called on we did the obstacle course which was a bunch of team activities. There was a futbol (soccer) tournament where Josh got hit in the face a few times. When the Olympics were over we went to lunch and showered afterwards to get ready for the barbecue.

We had to walk across campus to Rondileau Campus Center to get to the barbeque and when we got there it was packed with kids and their parents. When we got there we saw Joyce, Ben, Calvin, and Beka. There was chicken, hamburgers, potato salad, slushies, hot dogs, cookies, and watermelon which tasted really good. We listened to music and ate while the kids were playing at the dunk tank. When everyone was done eating the PAs started to talk about the teams and all of the things we had been doing. When they finished talking they played music and there was some dancing. Then each team was called up to do their team chant. After we finished the chants the parents said their goodbyes and went home.

In the evening a game show was held in the Moakley building where we sometimes go to watch movies and listen to speakers who talk about their story and struggle. We had to walk through the entire building to get to room where the game show was being held. The room was very big and it was full of chairs where everyone sat. It was quiet at first and we were listening to the rules and waiting for the game show to start. When it started it was like a Family Feud game which includes asking questions and, if you get the right answer, you get to play a minigame for prizes. There were games where music was being played and when those games happened everyone was getting up and dancing along with the music. Everyone was dancing and singing and cheering so much that they forgot about the game that was going on until one of the PAs announced the winner. When the game ended we all went back to the dormitory, had team time, called our parents to say goodnight, and went back to our rooms to sleep.





JULY 26 // DAY 8 - Witch City

On Sunday we drove to Salem. This place was known as Naumkeag to the Native people before the settlers renamed it in 1626. Unfortunately, the town later became better known as Salem where the Salem Witch Trials happened and 20 innocent people were killed during the 1692 witch hunt. These people were accused because they were thought to have been practicing black magic and putting spells on the people of the village. Everyone had their superstitions about who was a witch and who wasn’t. There are a lot of misconceptions of the Trials like: All the victims were declared to be witches, they were burned at stake, and these witches were hanged at Gallows Hill. One man, Giles Corey, was actually pressed to his death. We visited the memorial that was constructed for the 300th anniversary. We also had to be very respectful to the people who were buried there. They had stone benches engraved with the names of the 20 innocent people that were killed. 

At the Salem Museum we learned about the history of Salem. It was interesting because most of us students were mesmerized by the experience we were having. This museum talked about important people of Salem. For example there’s Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sarah Peabody, and Bridget Bishop, who was also the first to be accused of witchcaft and first hanged in 1692. They had this historical timeline of the founding of Salem. We read about the young girls who fell ill after doing something in the attic in January 1692. It was the daughter of Reverend Samuel Parris. The doctor’s diagnosis was simple: these girls were “bewitched.” They writhed on the floor, screamed uncontrollably, and had tantrums that couldn’t be explained. Soon other neighborhood girls began showing drastic behaviors. Soon some of the girls claimed to experience “afflictions” from local women. These women were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, who was disliked by the village because of her outrageous behavior, and a slave named Tituba. In addition, a number of men and women were accused for consorting with the Devil. We then read about Nathaniel Hawthorne, who changed his last name because he didn’t want to be associated with his grandfather. The reason for this was because his grandfather was a judge during the Salem Witch Trials.

North Shore Mall:After walking around Salem, we decided we wanted to visit a mall, so we went to North Shore Mall in Peabody. It was bigger than we expected. There were many different kinds of foods that we never saw in the mall in South Dakota. It was bigger in the inside than the outside because there were lots of aisles and it was two stories high. Some of the stores were the same like the mall in Rapid City. The mall was more crowded. A lot of these stores are really expensive. 





JULY 28 // DAY 10 - Digging Up the Past

On Tuesday we went to the Massachusetts Archaeological Society’s dig site and it was pretty interesting.  Bridgewater State University students were at the site digging square pits to uncover objects such as sharp-edged stones used by Natives who had camped not far from the Nemasket River. Dr. Hoffman told us that this was not a permanent homesite. After the dig site we went to the Robbins Museum at Middleboro and saw some pretty amazing artifacts that the native people on the east side of the country used long ago. In the front was an area that displayed various Native objects from different cultures. David DeMelo, the curator, told us about the Doyle Doll Collection which had dolls from all over Native America. In some areas of the museum there were ancient artifacts that the native people on the east used long ago, and these were different than the native people from elsewhere in North America. There was also a diorama of early life of east coast Natives. The artifacts in these sections dated back 9,000-12,000 years. After the tour we went to Burger King for lunch, and we all filled up pretty good. 

We went back to campus to work on our class slideshow for the Red Cloud High School website on our trip to Bridgewater, Massachusetts. We used photos that we took while we are on the trip and put them in order. We also discussed what we had seen at the museum. At 2:00 pm we had meetings in the Executive Conference Room in Boyden Hall. The past president of the university, Dana Mohler-Faria, was very happy that Red Cloud students had finally come to Bridgewater’s campus. He told us that he had been waiting for this day. He also spoke about his involvement with Red Cloud.

We also met with the new president, Fred Clark, who asked about what we had been doing and what we thought our future would be. He told us how BSU had started the relationship with Pine Ridge and RCIS. He gave us red t-shirts because he called us alumni of BSU and said that we were now family.

After the meetings we had recreational time and after recreational time we went back up to our room to get ready for the baseball game at the Brockton ROX stadium. At the baseball game we also had our dinner; everybody got 10 dollars from the Bridgewater Partnership Program, and if you turn in your ticket you could get a free hotdog, hamburger or free chicken tenders. After the baseball game we went back to campus to get ready to go to bed for the next day.  





JULY 30 // DAY 12 - Final Thoughts

We’re almost at the end of our journey east. We all enjoyed it, but there were times it was difficult. After getting to know everybody it got easier. It was different because we always had something to do. We got to do many things that we couldn’t experience at home. We sat in a college classroom and got to hear an actual discussion take place.

During our time here, we got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. We also got to visit other Native people different from our own. We saw historical places, and it actually felt like we were in that time period. We made new relationships and helped strengthen our partnership with Bridgewater State University. It’s an opportunity that people rarely get on the reservation that we are grateful for. 





Eperience the Maȟpíya Lúta Owáyawa
2015 Lakȟól’iya Wičhóthi Daily Blog

Experiencing Lakota Heritage First Hand 
at the 2014 Lakota Language Camp