Full Circle from Pine Ridge
When Arthur Running Horse came to Marlboro College as a participant in the Exposures cross-cultural youth arts program four years ago, he was convinced he would return one day as a college student. Now a first-year student at Marlboro, he is co-leading a class trip this spring to his Lakota community at Pine Ridge to help other students learn about community engagement and life on the reservation.
“When I visited Marlboro with Exposures I was in awe at how beautiful the campus was,” says Arthur. “The most memorable thing about visiting Marlboro was working in the library late at night and finding the little nooks to hide away in. I thought to myself, ‘I want to be in this exact same spot in four years.’”
“Arthur likes to have different experiences and is self-motivated to make a difference for himself, his people, and the world around him,” says John Willis, photography professor and founder of In-Sight Photography Project, a youth arts program in Brattleboro. Exposures, an offshoot of In-Sight, was founded 16 years ago by six Plan students working with John, and has built a growing relationship between youth from Brattleboro and the Pine Ridge community.
“Exposures helped me grow personally by ‘exposing’ me to different cultures and ways of life, importantly life outside of the reservation,” says Arthur, who participated in two other Exposures programs at Pine Ridge in subsequent years. He recently started an internship at In-Sight.
“Arthur is inspired to help teach others,” says John, who is co-teaching the course on experiential learning and collaboration with Arthur, including the trip to Pine Ridge. “The approach we are taking is to consider how we all can learn about Lakota culture and history while considering how to be good guests in their community, and engage each other so we can collaborate toward the goal of betterment for all of us.”
Although he has not settled on a focus at Marlboro, Arthur says he wants to create art and learn more about the world and different ways of life as well as what it means to be indigenous in today’s society.
“More than anything I want to focus on making my people proud and being an example to the younger generation that you can overcome the circumstances on the reservation and thrive. I want to show the younger generation that you can be proud to be Lakota.”
Photo by David Teter ’20; Inset by Emily Weatherill ’21