Red Cloud Alumni Stories of Service:
AmeriCorps Edition

Chris Giorlando, Red Cloud AmeriCorps Director, wishes to highlight "stories of service" of past Red Cloud Alumni AmeriCorps members, and their continued support in teaching the Lakota Langugage! In addition, hopefully this story offers some insight and advice for anyone considering becoming an AmeriCorps member in the future. The following interview is with Morgan Two Bulls. 

Morgan Two Bulls

Where did you grow up and go to school?

Growing up on Pine Ridge, I was in the Oglala district in the western portion. I went to Loneman School for a bit until 6th grade and then graduated from Red Shirt School. From there I went to Red Cloud High School all four years and I graduated from there. Two years after I graduated, I joined the Red Cloud AmeriCorps Program!

What made you want to serve a year in AmeriCorps?

I worked in the archeology field after Covid hit up in Deadwood looking for old Chinese artifacts in Deadwood. Then I worked for the tribe’s Covid Taskforce to protect people from the virus. We sacrificed our bodies so that we could protect our elders, the children, and the sickly that could not do it themselves. That included the border patrols to monitor people coming off and on the reservation to protect our people from Covid. Then I got a job offer from Red Cloud and I took it. I grew up to be a completely different person. I never thought I’d be here. I never saw myself teaching. It took me by surprise, but I am glad I took this job.

What did you learn during your year of service? What was most meaningful for you?

In my first year there was a lot of learning and a lot of growing that I needed to do. One thing I needed to do was to understand that we are still coming out of a pandemic. Especially these kids, especially the kindergarteners, I needed to know that they have been inside during the entire year due to the pandemic. They were stuck in homes and the situation was completely different. The kindergarteners I work with haven't really been outside in the world. I wanted to help them learn how to be out of their homes, show them the world, and show them how it is. Last year I was nervous. I did not know what to do, I was always asking for help which is OK, but as a person I don’t really like asking for help. If someone tells me to do something, I do it to a T, to the point where it is perfect, that is how I am. This year I shapened up into more of a patient person. It’s still sometimes hard when you become a teacher. You are expected to have your patience tested. This year was pretty challenging, but I met the challenge to become a teacher, a hand games sponsor, and a high school basketball coach. Every day I am here 8 - 10 hours, from 7:30 to sometimes as late as 7:00 at night, depending on the practice schedule.

You came back for a second year. Why?

It’s just these kids; they are the reason I came back. It’s just really the kids, they made me come back. I really love the environment here. I also really love being a handgame coach and a sponsor.

Is there a favorite moment from the classroom that you could share?

I’ve loved every bit of it. I’ve gotten to teach our kids hand games and they’ve been able to hold their own against other schools which is really good as these students have not had the Theča Wačipi in a long time. My favorite moments are the kids playing and seeing them play and win. Another favorite moment is just being with the high school basketball players. I am teaching our students how to be a Lakota person while I am teaching the high schoolers how to be Lakota men. I am still teaching them - even when they play basketball - how to become young men in a Lakota sense.

Can you tell us about your work in archeology?

I’ve worked as a Tribal Cultural Specialist/Archeologist. I’ve been working in the archeology field since 2020. I’ve been going to lots of different places and have been meeting with lots of different tribal members. You need to have a lot of knowledge of how people in this area, in the Great Plains, how they lived and what they went through in each time and era. As a TCS, you need to have a spiritual sense because you are touching - disturbing in fact - the remnants of peoples’ objects, the items that people owned. You just need to have respect for what they owned and leave it there. It was a really good experience because I got to see a lot of things out there. I got to meet a lot of people and to experience a lot of really different environments. I’m still doing archeology every summer after my work during the school year. I will still go out and survey. The most recent project I worked on was in Montana and North Dakota. Let me tell you, they are very very different ecosystems. Montana is very rocky; we went from walking in straight lines to walking in Canyons and BadLands. But when I went into those Badlands I felt like I was at home. My cousin and I looked at each other and said, “This feels just like home.”

What are you doing to further the teaching of the Lakota Language?

Working in the Lakota language has been really helpful as I have been wanting to better learn the language. This is one way to do it; there are multiple ways of doing it, but this is one way. When I saw the Lakota Immersion kids speaking the language and they were more fluent than me, I felt a bit insecure because I want to learn the language; this gave me more inspiration to learn the language. Another way of learning the language is through the elders in your homes. I can still do that with my grandmother because she knows the true way to talk. This is because in my opinion that is the best way to talk just like them.

What do you plan to do in the future?

What I plan to do this semester is to teach these kids and another is to teach my students a lot of the TWO Pow Wows; I want them to have fun and get the experience. After my second year, I am looking to come back and do a third and final year because I do not want to leave my younger brother behind as it is his senior year here. I want to be here for his senior year. After that I am going to go back to school to get my degree in Native American History from Haskell University.


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