February 2, 2017

The Little Thunders Come to Friends’

Sun Bear Little Thunder and her daughters shaking
hands with our 4th and 5th grade students 
Last week, our 4th and 5th grade classes hosted some visitors from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South and North Dakota.

Originally from Colorado Springs, the Little Thunder family stopped by Friends’ School to express their appreciation for the money that several of our students raised in a bake sale to support the Oceti Sakowin Camp.  The camp is a gathering of tribes, and other supporters, whose mission is to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Friends’ parent Ciska Moore invited the family to meet with our students to share some stories and songs from their Lakota traditions. The parents, Sun Bear and Donny, and their children Little Tornado, Sun Woman, and Eagle Girl, sang powerful songs for us.  They spoke Lakota, articulating common everyday expressions that all parents say to their children, which amused our English speakers.

Donny Little Thunder talked about how all of us, as human beings, are what he described as “two-leggeds”.  Whether our hair is brown, blond, red, or black, we are all of the same race. He discussed the importance, to his people, of protecting the water on the reservation and encouraged our students to learn more about renewable energy.

The Little Thunders first moved to the camp in September last year. They expected to be there for a month or two, but have now lived in a tipi on the reservation for five months. They described living conditions, the need to gather wood, and how the temperature has occasionally fallen to negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Through it all, their family believes it is important to remain. The Oceti Sakowin Camp once held 14,000 people, but is now, in the dark days of winter, down to 500 residents.

The children now attend Cannonball Elementary School on the reservation – and arrive at school each morning after doing all their chores around the tipi.

The family shook hands with all of our students in appreciation for the bake sale donation and left us in Boulder on their way back to North Dakota.

Thank you, Ciska, for making this connection for our students.

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