Grandmother Beatrice LONG VISITOR HOLY DANCE


Since 1974, Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance has been a health care worker. First she was a  community health representative for people with diabetes. Today she works with field health nurses delivering medication to TB patients.   "I work with a lot of sick people who don't understand what the doctors are telling them, about how they are supposed to diet and take care of themselves...  They're really poor, having a hard time. Some are worse off than we are."

Grandmother Beatrice also feels that her people should stop taking so many pills and return to herbal medicine. Many different kinds of plant medicines grow in the Black Hills.  Throughout time, traditional healers would say prayers, gift the earth with red willow and tobacco, then accept the gift of the healing plant.  Medicine men and women would decide which part of the plant was needed and if there were enough plants to ensure the species' survival for the next seven generations to come.

Speaking about Boarding School:
       "I always appreciated what the nuns did for me at the school. They would put away the clothes we came in and furnish us with new clothing, new shoes. The nuns and priests taught us a lot of good things, from what I can recall. We were taught how to work in different areas of the school: the kitchen, dormitories, dining rooms. They showed us what to do and how to do it.  And it was good. We got up at six, went to mass every morning at seven, and then to school. It was our home for nine months out of the year."
    Grandmother Beatrice also remembers the Catholic brother from Switzerland who tended the garden. When the children returned each autumn, he and the boys harvested the crops.  "There was a root cellar, where they took all the vegetables from the garden for storage. This brother would make barrels and barrels of sauerkraut and dill pickles for the kids. One nun took care of the milk and made butter another brother was in charge of the bakery with the boys. There were chickens and cattle. We ate meat, chicken, eggs, whatever we wanted. Everything was fresh every day. We all learned to wash dishes, clean the tables, and help with the cooking."

About life today on the reservation:
       "Now I have a three-bedroom home. I don't have much. I have running water, but it isn't very good. I have mold growing there, and it's getting pretty bad. I've been trying to get the housing authority to help me, but nobody help
s me."

Peace, youth, and schools:
"We're praying for peace, which is not only the wars but in our homes and in the schools. We need that peace amongst children," said Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance,

Black Hills Photo:

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