PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. — Dodge tumbleweeds and stray dogs. Venture down a deeply rutted dirt road. Walk into the warmth of a home heated by a wood-burning stove. There’ll be a deer roast marinating on the kitchen counter.
It is here, in a snug home that sits on the edge of nearly 3 million acres of South Dakota prairie, that you’ll find the heart of a culture. It’s here, at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where Joe and Randi Boucher make dinner for their two young daughters. The smaller one squirms and is gently admonished: “Ayustan,” she is told — leave it alone.
It’s here where the Lakota language is spoken, taught and absorbed in day-to-day life.
Photo: Kayla Gahagan