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Titans of the Prairie

June 11, 2020

Titans of the Prairie

- as seen by -

Joseph Gazing Wolf Joseph Gazing Wolf

Every summer, I lead a camping trip for a group of underrepresented students through the Northeastern Plains. We explore sites that are of historical significance to the Lakota, including Pine Ridge Reservation, the Badlands, and the Black Hills. We learn all about mixed-grass prairies, the native herbivores that once inhabited them, and their significance to Native American culture and heritage.

For the Lakota, the buffalo was not just a provider of food, fiber, and shelter, but is at the heart of our creation as a people. As we were driving through the Badlands, these two bulls were on the side of the road, and I referred to them as Titans of the prairie. Having the awe-inspiring experience of being so close to these ancient beings, the students came to understand why I refer to them as Titans and how their existence is indispensable to the existence of this biocultural system.

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