RAPID CITY, S.D. — Knollwood Townhouses on Rapid City’s north side are home to many Lakota residents, and violence in recent months has torn the community apart.
Delaney Apple, a co-organizer, discussed the current issues, as well as his efforts to call peace back to his people.
“These guys have been hurting each other, and I wanted to do something,” he explains. “And I just thought, well, what helped me?”
Healing is a prevalent part of Lakota culture, so Apple organized Wotakuye Gluwasakapi, a four day event. It’s centered around a core practice – maintaining a fire. By praying, singing, and sharing stories, he hopes to keep the flame burning in the hearts of his people.
“We live in these square houses inside the city, and sometimes we forget who we are as native people,” says Apple. “Let’s put some tipis up and remind us who we are and where we came from, and the grandmas and the grandpas that we came from.”
Apple says that the solutions to community violence and heartache are already instilled in his culture, they just need to be remembered, and practiced.
He went on to talk about the goals of the event. “Hopefully that we inspire and help some of these people in the community to think and remember who they are. And maybe in that way, the ones who need that help, will get that help.”
As for the future of his community, he’s been making more plans to help keep natives in Rapid City connected to their traditions through cultural activities. On Saturday, one message rings loud with the beat of the drum in the apartment complex – “being humble, and being peaceful and staying in prayer, and wishing the best for the community and for all the ones that need it.”