Honoring the Elders of Medicine Root District

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Honoring the Elders of Medicine Root District

By Jason Stover, story, and Eric Pourier, photos

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Day of food and fun included a visit to the buffalo pasture and a newborn calf

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buffaloThe first annual Pejuta Haka Gathering of the Elders (Pejuta Haka Wakan Okoawita 2010) brought the elders of South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation's Medicine Root District together Tuesday for a day of food and fun, including a visit to our tribe's buffalo herd. To honor our elders of the reservation's Medicine Root District, the whole event happened with donations and volunteer work. From the Tanka team, Eric Pourier and I were on hand to lend a hand and document the event with photos.

Brandon Ferguson, head coordinator of the event, gathered community leaders, volunteers and donations to host the event. The day started with breakfast at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Hall in Kyle, S.D., where we served biscuits and gravy. During the meal, I visited with a table of grandmothers. One of them, Stella, told me she was scared of buffalo. Another grandmother suggested that, next year, we get a drum group to sing for them.

After breakfast, our elders took a bus ride to Yellow Bear Canyon, about 10 miles outside of Kyle, where they toured the buffalo pasture while volunteers prepared the group's cookout lunch. On the tour, they came across a newly born buffalo calf that they all could pet and see up close. One of the grandmothers found the experience so amazing that she began to cry. She said that, through all of her years, she had never experienced anything like it.

By the time the group completed the buffalo pasture tour, the food was ready to be served. Chief Adolf Bull Bear said the prayer over the food, which included buffalo burgers, buffalo steaks, hot dog, potato salad, macaroni salad and all the trimmings. The elders were served first, then the children, and then the tribe's emergency medical technicians, police officers and park rangers.

It was a great turnout and a very good meal of buffalo.

For more information:
Our Lady of Sorrows
Oglala Sioux Tribe Parks and Recreation Authority

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Previous Comments

Guest on Thu Apr 29, 2010 15:55:11
the two gentlemen doing the story and pictures did a fantastic job...great dialogue and pictures to match. Looks like young and old alike had a good day.

Joe Horse on Wed Apr 28, 2010 17:41:36
It's good to see the community taking very good care of our elderly.. Great job Thunder Valley.. Keep up the good work.