July 6 we reached the school, ate dinner and settled in to relax for the evening. In the morning we ate a simple breakfast and hit the road. We visited the surrounding reservation communities and handed out fliers about the weeks activities. The neighborhoods were separated from each other by a good distance, so we had pockets of neighborhoods to visit and walk around handing out fliers and posting them on doors.

The reservation housing was very simple. Nearly everything was a duplex, with a very plain curb-side view. Everything was visibly low income. The people we met were all very polite, and we only ran into a couple of ornery dogs. This experience was humbling. Here is a proud people, forcibly moved to this part of the country, and left to fend for themselves. What little work exists is menial and pays poorly. I honestly could not believe it. My only knowledge of this great people was what I learned through my high school education, or what I’ve researched and learned on my own. The former being horribly biased, and dare I claim, racist. I knew of all the injustices of the past, but to learn that this still goes on today was sickening. It was hard to process it at the time.

The fliers that we posted advertised a daily event at the community center for young kids and a community dinner hosted by our group at the end of the week. Every day at the community center, some of our group set up a table with numerous crafts and activities for kids of various ages. The children from the nearby communities visited, and we would read to them, teach them to make crafts, and played games with them. To my understanding, most of the kids have not interacted with many Caucasian people, if any. Many of them still harbor harsh feelings that they have learned from their parents generation. The primary purpose for this event was race reconciliation, and providing these kids a positive experience. I was able to attend one of these, but I’ll write about that later.

Later that evening our group had our own craft time. While we were there, we had the opportunity to learn beading and sliversmithing. These activities allowed us to obtain a healthy respect for these trade skills. The The group was split 50/50 between the two activities, and I chose to try my hand at silversmithing. Our host, John Henderson as seen to the right, led the silversmithing class. John is a very humble, honest, and open person.

Silversmithing was not easy. Neither Rachel or I are quiitting our day jobs. The only thing that was quick and easy about this skill was the healthy respect gained from attempting it.

It was a lot of fun though. At the end of the first day we’d made a lot of progress and had taken small silver plates and ribbon to something that may in fact resemble usable jewelery.

Every evening we met for worship and group discussion. It is hard to be attentive and thought-provoking in the evening after long days, but I appreciated that we took advantage of this time. It was good to have a constant reminder of why you are there, and take time to ask God to work through you every day.

Every sunset was beautiful.

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