Part II of our road trip consisted of; The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore and The Badlands. Needless to say, South Dakota had some amazing sights!
Autumn is at an age where we are teaching her who she is, the background of two resilient cultures; African American and Native American. Her mind is still young, so we are not going in depth or into the specifics, not even the bad, but an idea of what is behind those strong ethnicities. At my niece’s graduation, ceremonial dancers and drummers started the Graduation commencement. We stayed on the Blackfeet reservation and our trip to the Little Bighorn Battlefield and the Crazy Horse Memorials were introductory learning experiences for her. There is still so much for her to absorb. As a child, until age 9, I was raised on the Navajo reservation; I was surrounded by my elders, family, friends, teachers, etc. Everyone was like me. For me, it was not so much “learning” who I was, but more so a way of life. I know for her it is going to be different, but I always want her to be proud and knowledgeable.
You Don't Know Where You Are Going, Until You Know Where You've Been...
PART II Highlights:
1. The Little Bighorn Battlefield was unplanned and spontaneous, but also one of my favorite sites to see. The history behind it. There was a calmness about the area; the green pastures were very quiet and serene.
2. I preferred the Crazy Horse Memorial over Mount Rushmore, but I thought it would be an interesting site for Autumn to see.
3. The Badlands were breathtaking. I had a friend recommend the Badlands and I am so glad we went. One of my favorite stops of the entire trip. I now have a bucket list goal; to camp and sleep underneath the stars at The Badlands. Hopefully some day…
4. We stopped in Chamberlain, South Dakota to view the 50 foot tall statue, Dignity. Dignity is a stainless steel statue depicting a Native American woman draped in a star quilt. We stopped 2 Native youth with basketballs in their hands walking alongside the road. We asked them for directions to the statue. Shy and giggly, they looked at each other then looked back at us saying the statue was off the interstate. I said thank you and thought of my youth. I was one of those girls with a basketball walking on the side of the road. A young Chimmey with Issy and Michelle. That moment made me smile.
"Standing at a crossroads, Dignity echoes the interaction of earth, sky, and people. She brings to light, the beauty and promise of the indigenous peoples and cultures that still thrive on this land. My intent is to have sculpture stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred, and in a sacred place."
-Dale Claude Lamphere, Sculptor and South Dakota Artist Laureate