Thursday was a relatively relaxed day. Finally woke Shayna up about 8:30, had breakfast (we have been making all own meals in our van – so fun), packed up and headed to Rapid City, about 20 miles north of where we were staying. We got gas and groceries, mailed the postcards and headed to a store called Prairie Edge, which is a store of Native American art, books, etc. We bought one of Donovin’s books. I texted him to see if he was around to sign the book. Luckily he was “in town”. We walked around and grabbed lunch from the van while we waited for him. Native time is very much like Jewish standard time. We met him back at the store and we met one of his friends, Del Iron Cloud, who was painting a beautiful picture. Donovin signed our book and escorted us to our car. The next day while we were touring a museum we saw some more paintings by Del Iron Cloud. Small world!
From Rapid City we headed out to Badlands National Park. Another amazing area. We took our time driving through and checking out just about every view point.
Friday morning after Shayna did her math work we went out for “PE” and did the Notch hike in the Badlands National Park for our last major view of the park.
This is the NOTCH:
From there we headed east. We stopped in Chamberlain, SD. Our original plan was to just stop at the Lewis & Clark Visitor center, but saw ads for the Sioux Cultural Museum so decided to check that out first since Donovin is Lakota, one of the Sioux tribes. It was a wonderful exhibit covering all aspects of Native life. The museum itself is on the campus of St. Joseph’s Boarding School which is one of the original federally mandated boarding schools for Native children living on Reservations. Again, very fascination to learn about the history of these boarding schools and the changes that have been made over time on how the schools regard the Native traditions and culture. Whereas the schools originally attempted to strip the Natives of their traditional ways of life, by cutting their hair, making them wear uniforms, and using corporal punishment, today their culture, language and traditions are embedded into their everyday activities. The artist we met in Rapid City, Del Iron Cloud, is an alumni of the school, which is why his artwork is included in the museum. I believe that will be our last opportunity to really focus on Native American history for awhile. I feel like we really took advantage of every opportunity around us to learn about and better understand the Native experience.
From there we did spend a little time at the Lewis & Clark Visitor center and had a chance to learn a bit about their travels through SD.
The next stop was Mitchell, SD, home of the Corn Palace. I ask my nutrition students to watch a film that discusses the Corn Palace, so I had to go see it and take some pics. It just happened to be the week of the Corn Palace Carnival which is when the Palace reveals its new design. This year it is a music theme.
We arrived just as a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. Although it was only 7:00, the carnival was shutting down because of the storm. We quickly shot some pictures, grabbed some beef brisket sandwiches (everything else was fried) and decided it would be best to not camp in a thunder/lightening storm. Luckily we found a BnB about a mile from where we were. A nice elderly woman owns and run it. She is hard of hearing and forgetful, but still full of energy. It is her 5 bedroom house where she lives alone. We had a nice private room and bathroom and Belgian waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast. It was a treat to be in a house after 12 days on the road and we are thankful to not have had to endure the storm in the van.