Sisseton, SD - Women's Issues (Post 2)

Today started before the sun came up. We all piled into Thelma and Louise and drove to the tribal school to shower before the students got there. Because kids are bused to the school from up to an hour away, we had some time to wash the mud and sweat off from the previous day's sweat lodge ceremony.

After a well-balanced breakfast of cereal and bagels, we headed to the Wac'ang'a Inc. headquarters to meet some of the people who will be leading our cultural exchange throughout the week. We discussed our goals and what we each hope to get out of our week and things we hope to accomplish for the organization.

Today was Spring-cleaning day, easing us into what we are told will be a very emotional journey this week. We split our group in half for the day- six of us cleaned the shelter and the other six helped out at the headquarters, and after lunch we swapped so everyone could have the experience of working at both locations. At the domestic violence shelter we cleaned the kitchen, bathrooms, and floors and organized pantries and closets full of food and empty boxes. One of the current shelter residents was there with her baby. Though we haven't had much yet in the way of sharing with the shelter representatives, it was a curious feeling to be in the same room as a woman who has taken herself out of a situation we could never even imagined. Back at headquarters, we organized clothes and toys that people have donated so they are easier to find and hand out to survivors. We were able to finish up pretty quickly and had some time with Pam to ask about some of the native traditions the boys to men program seeks to preserve. There is so much deliberation in the colors chosen and songs sung for different ceremonies; I'm looking forward to learning more over the next few days about the various ceremonies of the Dakotah tribe.

Learning about women's issues on the reservations will begin tomorrow with a documentary and discussion about rape on the reservation, created just three years ago. After a long day of cleaning, these Sisseton Sistas are doing some self-care with power-naps and competitive games. We realized that with the majority of us being journalism students, that the headline making card game became a bit more intense than anticipated. We turned to everyone's trusty favorite pasta for dinner. Complete with garlic bread and microwave green beans, Spag Night was a success. We ended with feminist bonding complaining about periods and boobs. And we posted up in DQ to write this with Blizzard with a blizzard-ish going on outside. Great end to a great night.

Sisseton Sistas
(Contributing writers Caitie and Madison)

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