UND Center for Community Engagement

Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Lisa, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

By now sleeping on floors is doing a number on my back.  I woke up a little after 5am since I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I took a shower right away to make sure I got my shower in ahead of some people (nobody was up anyway) and did some of my homework as required for this trip.  As everyone else got up and ready we left again for the Sitting Bull College for a tour.  The tour was great- the buildings were new and there are some newly established programs that the college has for their students which were really interesting to hear about.

We went through the college store where there was some cool stuff. I loved that they had Lakota and Dakota dictionaries on the shelves.  I taught Yuma and Leo how to say a couple of greetings in Lakota/Dakota, but that’s about all I know.  I ended up buying a book called “Honor the Grandmothers, Dakota and Lakota Women tell their Stories.” I have read a couple of pages already so far.

After the tour and meeting the President of Sitting Bull College, Dr. Laurel Vermillion, we were on our way to do our service work for the day. First we ate some soup and fry bread, which was good because I haven’t had any fry bread in a long time. Then we were split up in two groups, one to the Standing Rock head start program and one to the elderly meal site (where I went). We were supposed to help prepare meals that were to be delivered to the elderly in the community but by the time we got there they were already sent out, so one of the ladies recommended we go around the elder community (elderly housing surrounding the meal site) and offer to take out their trash and other odd jobs if needed.  Leo and I, along with Ruth and Michelle went around the neighborhood to help out local elders. Leo and I had some success and took out a couple of ladies garbage and helped another lady clean her yard.  Ruth and Michelle had some success helping a man do his dishes, take out his trash and fix his computer. 

We returned to the meal site to wash some of the pans that were used to cook lunch and then we were on our way to Bismarck. We went to the capitol building and met with North Dakota state Governor Jack Dalrymple.  After that we went to talk with Jasper Schneider and Bill Davis with the USDA Rural Development.  Jasper informed us about the Rural Development program and what it does to help rural communities build their resources to help maintain their economy and sustainability.  They help out many small communities (even larger ones such as Grand Forks) in North Dakota including Tribal communities.  They help with grants and loans to individuals who may want to purchase a home or start a business, electric co-ops who want to expand service, communities who may want to upgrade their water system.  He was super informative about the process of how to get the funds for these kinds of projects.  Jasper gave a recent example of how the program helped Buffalo, North Dakota (a town we are staying in tonight actually) renovate their grocery store in order to save it and keep it a functioning business.

Jasper said that a lot of the reservations are still in poverty and that unemployment in higher than the rest of North Dakota. I haven’t researched any kind of statistics but I believe it to be true.  Growing up on Fort Berthold and on other reservations I noticed that the casinos are the only major place of employment.  The Reservation has very little built capital and human capital is very low.  I didn’t know about this program until today and I feel more informed now that I know where the funding for some small town and reservation projects come from. 

After our visit with Mr. Schneider, it was about a two and a half hour drive then we pulled into Buffalo, North Dakota.  We were greeted by Liane Stout, unpacked then we sat and talked about our trip.  I said my favorite was the stop at Painted Canyon because I love the Badlands; they are too beautiful for words.  I also mentioned Regent and the enchanted highway because I find Mr. Gary Greffs creativity fascinating. I admire his dedicated to his art and to his town and I really hope to come back and see the Enchanted Castle when it is done (if there is room). I also loved their museum. I am looking forward to sleeping in a bed tonight at the Kasowski’s House here in Buffalo and doing our final project tomorrow!

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Croix, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

The Sitting Bull College was a lot more developed than I expected it to be. They have come so far in the past decade and their oldest building is from 2005. I was impressed with all of the programs they had to offer and I thought that they really catered to their students by offering day care services. I was excited to meet with Governor Dalrymple and thought it was great that he showed an interest in keeping university students informed with what was happening in North Dakota. I was a little thrown off when he told us that there are more than 17,000 available jobs in North Dakota and that the majority of these jobs are in the eastern part of the state. The trip to the USDA showed me how rural communities are able to fund key problems in their areas.

Leo, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

Today we went to the Sitting Bull College. The average students are around 32 years old. The college has opened up opportunities to the reservation. We helped elderly people clean their yards and take out their garbage. Afterwards we met the state governor in the capital city in Bismarck. He talked about the cities affected by the oil industry. How they are developing. We met a USDA employee who talked about how his organization helps the rural communities find funding. One of the major issues is that communities are developing too fast and they still want to keep their hometown atmosphere.

Michelle, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

I can be anywhere in the world, but I choose to come on this bus tour. Riding on the red state vehicle van has been an awesome experience. I was able to remove out the many stereotypes that were tucked in my head about rural towns and tribal communities. 

We visited a tribal community. Fort Yates was an amazing experience. I was not expecting the community having a college that utilizes the facility to its full potential. I enjoyed visiting Sitting Bull College, and hearing all the great programs and efforts that they are doing.

Our service project was very meaningful. I was able to help a nutrition center that served the elder. Then we got back in the red state vehicle and headed to Bismarck, the state capital. I was so excited to meet the governor. It was a nice peaceful meeting to hear the Governor Dalrymple speak about oil and the western part of the state. It was very kind of him taking the time to visit us UND students.

Ruth, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

Today we visited the campus of the Sitting Bull College, and I did my service project with the group that went to the nutrition center for the elders in the community.

     Before today, I’d never spent much time on a reservation, let alone a tribal college.  I was really impressed with the campus, especially the dramatic backdrop of the hills behind the buildings.  It was amazing that they had a windmill that generated the power for the science building.  Even though UND is one of the greenest campuses in the U.S. we don’t have anything like that that directly gives power to an important building.

     After the tour, our group split into two groups–one going to the head start program, and the other going to a small neighborhood for the elders to help out at the nutrition center.  There wasn’t much for us to do, because we arrived late since we stayed to speak to the faculty at the college.  So after we ate, we split into even smaller groups to go into the neighborhood and see if we could help anyone in their homes.  

     Michelle and I didn’t have any luck at the first house, but we struck gold with the next one we tried.  We met Robert, whose nickname we soon learned was Toodles, and we did simple things like wash his dishes and take out his trash.  We were even able to help him a little with his computer troubles.  But what I really enjoyed was talking to him.  He’s about 78 years old, but he told me that he only went to school up to 8th grade, so he couldn’t read well.  Now that he’s retired, though, he’s trying to improve with a computer and a Kindle his daughter gave him.  It was really inspiring that he’s set a goal for himself and is going after it.

Yuma, Day 4 – Fort Yates

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

We arrived in Fort Yates, ND yesterday and stayed on campus of Sitting Bull College. Since the town is in the reservation, I saw many Native American in the town. I thought a reservation area was surrounded by fence and we had to pass through gates to enter. However, there was no fence or gate. The area is very open, and everyone can go through the area.

Today, we met a lot of staff members at Sitting Bull College. They were really kind, talked about many things of the town, culture, and history. They really welcomed us and took us to the campus tour. We were able to visit most of the buildings and the offices. At the library, the library director Mark thoroughly explained about the library, e-book, and the tribe’s culture. He also showed us a lot of pictures and displays. I felt that there are a lot of history and culture of the tribe and that the history and culture are very important to them and the United States. Through the campus tour, I also felt their hospitality. I think they really want many people to visit the college and the town. One of the ladies who gave us the tour told me that anyone can apply for the college, including international students. I was surprised because I thought the application was open for only Native American or people in the reservation. At the end of the tour, we met Dr. Vermillion, the President of the college. I was very impressed by the school flag she showed us. It was not a regular flag but was made with eagle feather. I felt it showed their strong spirit and culture.

Our service project was helping a daycare center. I was glad that I was able to be involved in the service that is important for the local community. Then, we left for Bismarck, ND. We met Mr. Paul Govig and Governor Jack Dalrymple at ND State Capitol and Jasper Schneider, director at USDA. They talked about broad views of the issues that we saw during this tour. The activities of USDA are interesting because it is very difficult to develop the rural area without a financial assistant from the federal government.

We have one more day left till we come back to Grand Forks. I am looking forward to knowing about the last city Buffalo, ND.

Emily, Day 4 – Sitting Bull College

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

Today was a day of travel! We started the day at the Sitting Bull College. We were able to spend the night in some of their student-family housing and we treated to a great breakfast provided by the college this morning. We got a full tour of all of their buildings, which are new as of 2005. It was amazing to see the campus they have built for their students without putting the college into any debt! My favorite part of campus was the windmill, which actually powers their entire science building. We drove into Fort Yates to do our service project, helping with the head-start programs in town and also helping with chores in a predominantly elderly neighborhood. We then moved on to Bismarck where we got to meet the Governor and talk to him about what has been going on in the state. Our final stop was with Jasper Schneider and the USDA. He talked to us about the different types of programs the USDA can and have supplied funding for across North Dakota, specifically the more rural areas. We also got to hear about a project called North Dakota 2.0 which the USDA is working on in which the focus is looking at the future of North Dakota. It was very interesting to hear how much work it takes to create and fund these programs that we often just take at face value such as water or waste programs. I had a great time visiting our states Capital and getting insight in to how it all works.

Yuma, Day 3 – Regent

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

We came to Regent, ND yesterday, driving through the Enchanted Highway. I was so excited to visit the town because I saw many sculptures on the enchanted highway. I was very curious about what is coming next. I also felt “who did make it?” and “how did the person make it?” Gary Greff, who hosted us, made them. He also has been constructing a motel in the town, utilizing an old school building. I think his idea is great because both the sculptures and the motel attract a lot of people to come to Regent. According to him, it is necessary to do something unique compared to other towns near Regent in order to attract people and develop the town. This is a different aspect from aspects Cando has. Regent is competing with close towns. However, Cando does not compete. Cando starts services which residents want and which are not offered. They do not compete with other businesses in the town.

Today, we helped cleaning the motel’s rooms under the construction. The workers were constructing the rooms from early morning to late night. I felt that they really like Regent and want it to develop. After the service project, we visited the Hettinger County Historical Society Museum and the gift shop. I was so glad that I was able to participate in the service project because I feel I joined the part of the community. Now, I want the business to succeed, want many people to come to the town, and want to know how it develops. I think Regent has great assets, such as land offered to Gary by farmers, metals to create the sculptures, old building he can reuse, history and culture preserved in the museum, people’s contribution to remodeling the old building, etc. I want to come back to visit Regent again and see how the motel we helped has been changed.

We left Regent in the afternoon and were driving towards Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND. This town is different from other towns we visited. We did not have enough time to get to know this town. I cannot wait to learn about it tomorrow.

Emily, Day 3 – Regent

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

Last night we were able to stay in the Enchanted Castle in Regent, ND. We woke up early this morning to help the creator of the Enchanted Highway and Castle, Gary Greff, with the renovations he is making to his new motel. We cleaned rooms and helped where we could in the old school-turned-castle. After we finished our service project, we ate lunch and got to hear about where Gary draws his inspiration from and we were able to see first hand his passion for Regent and the surrounding area. He told us that we have now become a part of history and have left our mark not only in the Enchanted Castle, but also on the community of Regent. Then got a tour of the old school building in Regent and then made our way down town to visit the museum. We got to see tons of artifacts from not only Regent’s history, but the surrounding area’s history too. My favorite part what the original building which served as a pharmacy, soda fountain, general store, dentist office and hospital all at one time! I really enjoyed my time in western North Dakota and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Leo, Day 3 – Regent

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

Today we get up in castle. Have a great meal in the local restaurant. Thanks kind lady Audrey cooked the delicious food for us. We were cleaning room, decorating the wall. I enjoy cleaning the room. We did a good job. Room looks more bright and neat now. And introduce these beautiful sculptures. And more details of how they built sculptures. It’s very tough to set up these huge sculptures. They insist on these masterpieces for almost 22 years. They are also very expensive. What a great job that only a few workers used limited resource to do these things. More and more people saw these sculptures and stop here wants to know the story about the whole town. I like this creative idea it’s assets of the whole town. After that we visit the old school, museum. The stuff in museum records the history of regent. Compared with today’s modern life it looks different the way they lived. In the afternoon we went to the Forts Yates and have buffet. Tomorrow we will visit the new college which set up almost a decade. It’s great for the Native American to get the education.