UND Center for Community Engagement

Day 2: Dakota Buttes

In From the Instructor on March 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

How beautiful is the great state of North Dakota?  Have you truly been outside of larger cities within the state and embraced the sites of beautiful buttes and gorgeous sunsets across the Dakota prairies?

Today we had an opportunity to work with the Dakota Buttes Museum community volunteers and did oral histories.  Each student was able to sit down with a member of the community to hear their story about how they came to Hettinger or to the surrounding area.  Students on the trip were engaged and learning from community members, who would have thought?

Before we came on this trip, I warned them that community members had the greatest tool against city folk.  They are going to teach us something.  They may not know how to plug a jump drive in, but there’s more to rural communities than the technologies that runs the mainstream in city living.  They volunteer, work together, and visit.  Students have learned a valuable lesson in Hettinger, N.D.- the love of neighbors and the love they bestow to their community.

The Enchanted Highway:

We had an opportunity to stop over in Regent on our way to Hazen this afternoon to speak with Gary Greff, the artist who built larger-than-life-sized sculptures.  His goal, to bring travelers running across I-94 to Regent, N.D., only a 30 mile trek, but one he feels is worth it.  He mentioned that bikers come all across America to South Dakota for Sturgis, so why not find a way to get the traffic a little farther north.  He has big goals and is currently starting the renovations of the Mott-Regent school to make the Enchanted Castle.

Students are learning about rural communities, about the stereotypes that we “city-slickers” place upon them.  How we feel as though we are possibly doing a favor just by stopping in town and filling up our gas tanks.  We learned a valuable lesson today, and the students are growing culturally.



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