Hau mitakuyepi. Chante wasteya napechiyuzape. Christian Knutson emaciyapi. Waniyetu ma wikcemna nunpa samn nunpa. Black Hills State University el wablawa na Outdoor Education unspemic’ichiye. Oglala Lakota hemacha. Ogle Luta el wathi. — Hello! I shake your hand with a good heart. My name is Christian Knutson. I am 22 years old. I go to school at Black Hills State University and I major in Outdoor Education. I am Oglala Lakota, and I am from Red Shirt, South Dakota. Red Shirt is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is only miles from the Badlands National Park Stronghold unit. Badlands National Park also happens to be where I will intern this summer. Red Shirt is very similar environment as Badlands so I was very confident with my knowledge I have gained through 22 years of experience. I started on May 20th where I very quickly learned that I don’t know what I don’t know.
In my first two days I learned that I did not know as much as I thought. Badlands National Park is known to be very dry and hot but that was not the case this week. Nearly at the end of May, and I have seen lots of rain and a lot of snow, sometimes at the same time. In no time, I was out in the field soaked as I thought about the dry rain pants I left back at the office. I was shown around the park and some of the native plants in the area as well as the museum. I was also lucky enough to catch the tail end of kindergarten program performed by one of my site supervisors. Although the program was meant for kindergarten I can confidently say all ages can appreciate it as I learned new things about a place I have been around my entire life.
Since I already was mistaking poisonous plants for wild onions, I quickly realized that I have much more to learn about the environment I call home. Lucky for me I have all summer to learn through the MOSAIC’s internship.