About leaving home for Catholic Boarding School at age seven:
"I was sent to school with new moccasins
and a shawl. I didn't know of word of English. When I arrived, the nuns
grabbed my hand and took me from one place to another. I didn't
understand anything they were saying. We went down one hall and then
another, where I heard children screaming and playing. The nuns opened a
door into a great big playroom, where there were little girls playing.
That's where I had to stay until they gave me a bed."
During Rita's first day of school,
the teachers only spoke English. Rita, who only spoke Lakota, just sat
there. "After weeks and months went by I began to
language, especially 'yes' and 'no.' That was kind of hard. My own Lakota
language was finally
cut out of my mind, because we would get punished if we
ever spoke it."
On having children:
Grandmothers Rita and her sister, Beatrice, were
married in a double wedding ceremony. After four years, Beatrice had four
children. Rita had none. "People made fun of me. They said I was
taking bad medicine so that I wouldn't have children. My
feelings were hurt. I helped Beatrice take care of her children, and I
prayed to the Great Spirit, why didn't I have children? Then I had all these
kids, including twins, seven boys and finally one girl."