For the last five years, the Theosophical Order of Service has awarded scholarships to six nursing students from the Oglala Lakota College Nursing Program. The college serves the Pine Ridge Reservation which is situated in one of the poorest counties in the US. Many of the students awarded scholarships in the past have driven over 100 miles to be able to attend classes while working a full time job and having to care for a family. This year's recipient is Kristina Iron Cloud. Here is Kristina's letter of thanks.
Kristina mahpiya maza emaciyapi ye na Oglala Lakota. Denise ista gi mita inawaya ye na Gerald mahpiya maza mitawa atewaya ye. Mila yatapika mita oyate – pahin sinte.
“My name is Kristina Iron Cloud and I am Oglala Lakota. My mother is Denise Brown Eyes and my father is Gerald Iron Cloud. I come from the Knife Chief Society in Porcupine, South Dakota.”
Introducing your family is considered one of the most important aspects of oneself. The intricacy of your ancestry is woven continuously from past to present.
I was raised by a family guided by tradition and ceremony. Among our traditional values is fortitude – courage in pain or adversity. As a nomadic people, the expectations are to be strong, brave and unwavering in war and hardships. To this day, this rings true for our community of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Despite the incalculable setbacks in economy, health care, and even education, our Lakota people remain positive with perseverance and fortitude. The Oglala Lakota Nursing Program is indicative of this determination.
We are also a people of service to one another. Our definition is one of an altruistic nature; a duty to take care of one another even when it means taking care of yourself last.
Your scholarship has provided me a resource I am so thankful for, to obtain a career as a Registered Nurse. I am mother of two beautiful girls, a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. Becoming a nurse not only benefits my family, but it gives me an opportunity to serve my community as a health professional. It is my intention to apply as an RN to Pine Ridge Indian Health Service in the Acute Care Ward.
I travel 180 miles round-trip for class on a weekly basis and am the sole provider for my family. With the support of Oglala Lakota College and your scholarship, I am able to pursue and finish my career as a Registered Nurse. I am eight weeks from completing the program and I can’t be more excited, and even more thankful for the opportunity. It is very humbling to have this support.
Wopila Tanka (with much appreciation).
Pilamiya ye (Thank you),
Kristina Iron Cloud