My summer has been a long summer of new experiences. I started the program with never setting foot within the park that bordered my home. I hardly left the homeland of my people and I knew close to nothing about the National Parks Service. I did not have the slightest idea that there was such things as Inventory and Monitoring Networks. I did not realize how many jobs and workers it took to run a national park. I never considered that there was differences between national parks, monuments, historical sites and battlefields. I could never have imagined the type of work and projects that the National Parks Service supports. But now thanks to the MOSAICS program and the Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network I have a new view on the parks service and I want to be a part of it more than ever.
I have to give thanks to many people, first to the MOSAICS team that made this whole thing possible. Thanks to the Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network for showing a reservation kid how the parks work. Thanks to Isabel and Kara for making me feel welcome within the work of I&M. Never hesitating to have a conversation regarding any part of the federal government just for my understanding. Thanks to everyone in the office for willing to help me with whatever project. Thanks to the vegetation crew for teaching me so much about science and the parks. Thanks to all the others in the office who assisted me like I was their own intern, teaching me everything from IT work to invasive species. Thank you to Badlands National Park for giving me an outlet to make my project my own and always encouraging me. Thanks to all the staff at Badlands from the interpretive rangers to the maintenance crew for letting me eat lunch in their break room (and for pulling the car out that I got stuck) Thanks to everyone who allowed me to tag along and see what their jobs are like, pointing me in the right direction or even just having a friendly conversation with me. Thanks to MWAC for showing me archaeology and letting me be one of my childhood heroes of Indiana Jones. Thanks to the Fire Effects Crew for showing me another aspect of vegetation monitoring. Thanks to everyone who spoke and gave their time at the career workshop in Washington D.C.
Finally I have to thank the American Indian Center at Black Hills State for everything they do. I would not be where I am today without the constant help of Urla Marcus, Rosie Sprague, Hanna Burtt. Other than being living inspiration to a young rez kid they helped me in every aspect of my adult life. None of this would be possible without them. They mean so much to me than they’ll ever know and they are the perfect examples of how to walk the red road and live their lives as the definition of good people.
Thanks to everyone for a great summer,