Yellow Bird: Sadness on a trip to Standing Rock

"Last week, I made an unscheduled trip to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota for a very sad ceremony. On my journey to Fort Yates, N.D., I found our state expansive, wildly beautiful and powerful. Even under the snow, it was breathtaking.

There is a problem, however, in the southwestern part of the state. The farther west you go, the more you'll see the earth needs moisture.

When I left Grand Forks, the wind was knife-sharp and cold. Yet when I looked up, the sky was clear and azure blue. You needed sunglasses because the sun off the snow was extreme.

As I drove west, cutting across the state near Hillsboro, N.D., to Casselton, N.D., then entering Interstate 94, it was a straight run to Bismarck with little traffic and an open highway.

I automatically breathed deeply. In wide-open spaces, I assume there is lots of good, clean air.

Thoughts of my 23-year-old nephew, who had passed away, followed me. The roll of the hills, drifting snow and endless sky sparked memories. I could hear his laughter and feel his arms in a hug. I thought about his short life. "

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: A dryness and sadness across the land (The Grand Forks Herald 2/16)

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