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22433
South Dakota

Native American Life in South Dakota: Past, Present and Future

Interact directly with the Lakota people – a Sioux tribe that includes Red Cloud and Crazy Horse – to learn about their proud culture through exciting performances and museum visits.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22433RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
929
South Dakota

Native American Life in South Dakota: Past, Present and Future

Interact directly with the Lakota people – a Sioux tribe that includes Red Cloud and Crazy Horse – to learn about their proud culture through exciting performances and museum visits.
Length
6 days
Starts at
929
Program No. 22433 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Travel to the spectacular badlands of South Dakota to learn directly from the Lakota people about their proud history that includes the venerable Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. From the Battle of the Little Bighorn to Wounded Knee, the Lakota have carved their place in American history. This resilient Sioux tribe has retained many of their ancient and hallowed traditions, but has also adapted to modern times. Experience an authentic pow-wow, several Native American dances and life on a reservation as you learn directly from local Native Americans about how they’re preserving and building on their rich cultural history.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • At the Black Hills Pow-wow, learn directly from the Lakota people and enjoy authentic dancing and drumming.
  • Venture to the Crazy Horse Memorial and Museum to celebrate Native American Day and interact with Native American artists.
  • Go behind the scenes at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to learn from knowledgeable and engaging Native American speakers about current conditions on the reservation and their hopes for the future.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
by Dee Brown
A history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee describes the people's displacement through forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government. The book expresses a Native American perspective of the injustices and betrayals of the US government.
Lost Bird of Wounded Knee
by Renee Sansom Flood
On a Friday afternoon, Renee Sansom Flood, while sitting at her desk, was handed a photograph. It was a picture of a general in full dress uniform holding an Indian baby. On the back of the photo was written, "Zintkala Nuni, Lost Bird found on field of Wounded Knee." The next day, Renee began her investigation. What she discovered became this book, Lost Bird of Wounded Knee.
Neither Wolf Nor Dog
by Kent Nerburn
A story that gives great insight into Lakota culture and takes readers to the heart of the Native American experience. Threading through the book is the story of two men trying to find a common voice, and the challenge it can be for an Anglo person to try and understand Lakota culture. This book will be more meaningful for you after the program than before.
Black Elk Speaks
by John G. Neihardt
A classic, powerful story about a great Lakota leader, Black Elk. This is a legendary 'Book of Visions' of an Indian for whom the Black Hills were a sacred place. It was based on conversations by Black Elk with the author and translated from Lakota into English by Black Elk's son, Ben Black Elk, who was present during the talks.
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Custer, South Dakota
D
Outlaw Ranch

Activity note: Ranch check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration, 4:00 p.m. Check in at the Road Scholar table in the dining hall to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Dining hall buffet meal.

Evening: Orientation, 6:45 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. All meals at Outlaw Ranch are home-cooked and served buffets in the Outlaw Ranch dining hall. Breakfast meals will vary each day, but can include eggs, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, fresh muffins or scones, fresh fruit, toast, coffee, milk, and juice. Dinners include main dish, vegetable, salad, fresh bread, dessert, milk, coffee, and water. Vegetarian, low salt, low fat, low sugar, and gluten-free options are available. We will enjoy a farm-to-table meal of locally-sourced ingredients this week, to experience all South Dakota has to offer. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will engage in discussion on Lakota culture with our instructor. We will end today, and each day, with a Lakota talking circle, listening to each other’s thoughts on the day.

DAY
2
Black Hills Pow Wow, Mt. Rushmore Nat’l Memorial
Custer, South Dakota
B,L,D
Outlaw Ranch

Activity note: Early morning walk before breakfast. Total driving time for the day is about 2.5 hours. Total walking about 1/2 mile. Mostly level walkways or elevators are available. Bleacher-style seating area at the pow wow.

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet meal.

Morning: Before breakfast, we will enjoy an early walk around the ranch with staff. After breakfast, we will visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial by van with our Group Leader and view the memorial on our own. We will then travel to the site of the Black Hills pow wow in Rapid City. We will see art exhibits and meet Lakota people, who will share knowledge and insight into the pow wow dances we will see later in the day.

Lunch: At the pow wow, we will enjoy a packed lunch provided by the ranch, including sandwiches and more. Water included.

Afternoon: We will sit in the arena for the grand entry and an afternoon of dancing and drumming competition at the pow wow. This day includes the final judging and performances by the top dancers of the weekend. We will then return to the ranch by dinner.

Dinner: Dining hall buffet meal.

Evening: We will wind down our day with a group discussion and reflection in our talking circle.

DAY
3
Wildlife Drive, Crazy Horse Memorial
Custer, South Dakota
B,L,D
Outlaw Ranch

Activity note: Pre-breakfast morning narrated drive about 1.5 hours, 50 miles. Driving 1/2 hour to/from Crazy Horse. Walking on mostly level terrain, standing, mostly even terrain. Total walking at individual discretion.

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet meal.

Morning: Before breakfast, we will enjoy a morning drive with ranch staff, in Custer State Park, with the possibility of seeing bison, deer, prairie dogs, burros, or antelope. After breakfast, we will head to Crazy Horse Memorial by van for the Native American Day celebrations. Native American Day was first celebrated in South Dakota, and is now celebrated in a few other states. In South Dakota, it replaced Columbus Day in 1990, with the emphasis being to build deeper understanding and reconciliation between Native Americans and other people living in the state. Native dancers, singers, artists, and authors will share their culture.

Lunch: At the Crazy Horse Memorial, we will enjoy a buffalo stew lunch, also including rolls, fruit, cookies, water, tea, and coffee.

Afternoon: We will also spend the afternoon exploring the Crazy Horse Museum of the Native American Indian, gallery, art studio, and cultural center. Here, we’ll observe and talk with the Native American dancers, singers, artists, and authors as they share their culture.

Dinner: Dining hall buffet meal.

Evening: We will wind down our day with a group discussion and reflection in our talking circle.

DAY
4
Pine Ridge Reservation, Wounded Knee Massacre Site
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
B,L,D
Prairie Wind Hotel

Activity note: Total driving time is about 4 hours. Walking on mostly level terrain, standing up to 30 minutes at a time, walking through an art exhibit. Uneven terrain at the Wounded Knee Site. Total walking at individual discretion.

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet meal.

Morning: We will drive to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where we will visit Red Cloud Indian School and hear about education success stories from former pupils and school staff.

Lunch: At Bette’s Kitchen, a locally-owned café offering a beautiful view of the reservation bluffs, we will enjoy a choice of several daily specials. Water and soft drinks included.

Afternoon: A local Lakota will accompany us to interpret the massacre site at Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark and to share perspectives on hope for the Lakota people today. We will then check into our hotel for the night.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will enjoy a plated dinner of options off the menu. Beverages include water, coffee, soft drinks, and tea.

Evening: A Lakota speaker will join us and share ways that education is helping make life better today for the people on Pine Ridge Reservation. We will wind down our day with a group discussion and reflection in our talking circle.

DAY
5
Reservation Businesses & Cultural Sites
Custer, South Dakota
B,L,D
Outlaw Ranch

Activity note: Total driving around 4 hours. Some walking on even ground, ramps, and a few steps at the museum. Standing up to 30 minutes at a museum.

Breakfast: At a locally-owned coffee shop in Pine Ridge, we will enjoy a breakfast of burritos, breads, and muffins, and a variety of coffee, tea, juice, and milk beverages.

Morning: At Pine Ridge Reservation, we’ll hear about housing needs on the reservation, led by Lakota staff specializing in housing needs here. We will then visit the Oglala Lakota College Heritage Center to hear about the history of the Indian wars in the mid- to late-1800s.

Lunch: At a locally-owned café on the reservation, we will enjoy a plated meal off the menu, with water, tea, coffee, and soft drinks included.

Afternoon: We will then visit Thunder Valley, a grassroots community development corporation that is guided by the needs and ideas of the local community. We’ll hear from Lakota Thunder Valley staff about housing needs, food options, Lakota language education, and financial literacy classes on Pine Ridge. We’ll then return to the ranch after a drive through scenic areas of the south unit of Badlands National Park.

Dinner: Dining hall buffet meal.

Evening: We will wind down our day with a group discussion and reflection in our talking circle.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Custer, South Dakota
B

Activity note: Ranch check-out by 9:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet meal. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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