I was a hesitant about how this week was going to affect me academically, seeing as I have three tests the week I get back from fall break. However, last night and today I have come to realization that this trip will be educational and formative beyond any studying I would have done from a textbook. As we entered Browning today, I was eager to immerse myself in the Native American culture.
I was placed a fourth grade class where I experienced children with ranging academic abilities. Some struggle with reading, while others excel at reading. I was able to help kids write numbers in expanded form, read to kids, and even relive some of my childhood in P.E., playing “sharks and minnows.” The kids are eager to hear about what it is like to go to “college”. It was both eye opening and challenging to find ways to try to help the kids that were struggling. I really enjoyed spending time in the classroom with the kids and I look forward to being in the classroom for the remainder of the week.
In the afternoon, I went on a shopping trip to get food for dinner at the grocery store in Browning. As I was standing in line, it struck me that this was one of the few times in my life that I was in the minority. At this moment, I knew this week was going to be thought provoking beyond the words I read in my textbooks.
This evening after dinner we hosted a Blackfoot Indian tribe member and his thirteen year-old son. He talked to us about the relations between the Blackfeet people and the Montana state government as well as their relations with the federal government. He talked to us about the root causes of the social injustices on the reservation in Browning. In closing, he and his son sang traditional tribal songs to us. This was one of the coolest experiences I have had in my life.
The first day of this trip has been amazing. I look forward to many more thought provoking and relationship forming experiences on this trip.