SUMMER 2015 INTERNS
I can easily say that field school was a life changing adventure. It was the most enjoyable and impactful educational experience I have had so far where every aspect was relevant to the work or to anthropological methods in general. That being said, my favorite part of field school was the people--both those I met on the Reservation and those in the field school group. Interacting with those on the Reservation (especially those with whom we stayed such as Walter, Eileen, Karen, and Candace) always taught me something about their culture or about their experiences. Speaking with them, living with them, and just being around them gave me insight into another way of life that I was only able to read about before. Bonding with these individuals and families brought greater depth to my thoughts on and understanding of subjects, such as quality of life on the Reservation, food availability, Native American history, individual histories, and Native American culture. Everyone on the Reservation took the time to involve us and share some part of their lives with us--something that was extremely meaningful and inspirational. These are people that I will never forget, never take for granted, and will hopefully stay in contact with. In regards to the field school group, they made the whole experience even more enjoyable. I felt comfortable with everyone, and there was a ridiculous amount of laughter all of the time. I felt like I had a support system on the Reservation, which made all the hours working on surveys, writing reports, driving, being in new situations, going on new adventures, and just taking things as they come (be it mishaps or incredible opportunities) something that I looked forward. I find it special that even after field school has ended, I don't go a day without hearing from someone in the group--either them remembering an inside joke or saying they miss me. In general, field school left me with valuable work skills, a new perspective on life and anthropology, and lifelong friends. Field school was just amazing.
The six weeks I spent with Sweet Grass Consulting’s field school was by far one of the most valuable experiences I have had in college. Not only did it allow me to take everything I have been studying in anthropology and apply it to real world situations, but it helped me understand the many ways in which the field of anthropology is both extremely valuable and relevant outside of academia. I also made so many important connections with fantastic people who are doing important work to help their communities despite the hardships facing so many around them. I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside them even briefly, and know that the stories and memories from this summer will stay with me forever. I think it is crucial to find the things in this world that are impactful enough to you to fight for, and this summer enabled me to do so. I would recommend the experience to anyone.
Working on the field school was an equally transformative and reflexive experience. I drove across the country towards the open prairies of the Badlands for six weeks of administering surveys, collecting data, writing reports. It was also six weeks of laughing, hiking, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, exploring the community, meeting brilliant individuals, listening to their stories and histories, and having incredible adventures daily. I made friends that I have since met up with again in other countries on other ventures. I learned so much while doing meaningful, important work as a partner to the people of Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Reservations. Field School with Sweet Grass was monumentally worth it.