De La Salle Blackfeet School is a San Miguel School, operated by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, for 4th-8th grade boys and girls who live on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana
As days go by here, the culture begins to leave me at a loss for words. I have heard about the danger, the struggle to travel, and the difficulties of daily life. I am left speechless at every story told to me. The children at the De La Salle Blackfeet School are not exception to these difficulties. Some come to school for the escape, others to really learn, and a handful to find who they are outside of the community. There may be strong roadblocks and difficulties with the community, its residents, and daily life; but there is a stronger sense of resilience in these children. They smile, they laugh, they are energized. They continue to come to school. The children find reasons to be happy. They do not wait for the happy moments. The children make them.
Helping them write their essays has been a lot more rewarding than what I expected. A number of their essays really showed that some of the students still struggled with the language barrier. When I finished helping them, many were so grateful for my help that it was hard not to throw my arms around them and tell them how I think that they deserve the million dollar scholarship.
By reading their stories, I now completely understand. The Gates Millennium Scholarship has the opportunity to give these students what they deserve: an education. I am so honored to have been able to help them through this process.
I have really enjoyed the ability to create relationships with the students. Not only have I found myself in a “big sister” role, but I see how my friendships with the students have established a great amount of trust. From building this trust and compassion, students have opened up and allowed me to learn more about their personal lives. From working in the counseling office doing co-facilitations to just talking with students; I have been honored to hear about the stories. While a lot of what I have learned has been gut wrenching, it still means so much that people are trusting their story with an unfamiliar face. That in itself has taught me a lot about the practice of community on the reservation and with its people.