Personal Narrative: Lakota Native American Reservation

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My most influential experience that taught different perspectives of the world is when I studied abroad in the U.S. state of South Dakota to study Native American Culture. We lodged at
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Lakota: Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke), which is actually an Oglala
Lakota Native American reservation.
When we arrived on Oglala Lakota Native American reservation, there was an immediate cultural shock. The town look like deserted area with small local stores. Everyone knew each other, and it was obvious that the Lakota Native Americans have a lot of pride for their culture because they love their land and their language. I learned that many kids are unable to afford private schools and college; as a result, there are social issues with
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Many kids commit suicide to escape these issues. Many Lakota families live in a one or two bedroom home and raise a family of five to nine children. The grandparents help with raising the kids while the parents are still trying to find work and figure out their purpose. Many of the
Lakota parents are dependent on drugs and forget their responsibility to their family. When we were outside the reservation, the environment felt safer, and we noticed the educational and work opportunities that Americans have in South Dakota. We asked people outside of the reservation what they thought about the Native American issues on the reservation, but they felt indifferent about caring about the Native American’s issues. I was surprised and sadden for the lack of empathy towards the Native Americans.
As I think about my experience at at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I connected with
Lakota people’s culture the most. I remember traveling to South Dakota and experienced how these these people cared for their families and their treasure their culture despite that they may have a dysfunctional family. Hearing their stories made me empathize with them because
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Although, I’ve performed well enough to succeed at many group projects. However, like the Natives, sometimes when they feel like the world was against them, their family are suppose to be the foundation, but the parents have issues and sometimes don’t provide the needed support. Above all, their secret is to never giving up and I feel the same as I have continued to strive at Belmont to complete my AET degree. They have also learned how to accept themselves and know they will change. I’ve also learned to love my family as I am away from home and genuinely listen to them as I see the Lakotas doing the same because they always listen to their elders or grandparents. I’ve learned that no matter how small or big the issue, no one should give up on their own life. Everyone is worth being a hero even if that is just caring for a child. There have been times at Belmont when I wanted to give up too, but especially after the Pine Ridge
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