by Ravi S. '17 and Kallin S. '17
Kallin: The memories of raspberries piling up in baskets, the feeling of sand in between toes while chasing after a volleyball, the talk of what whaling and land rights should entail, and continuing to decipher riddles still left unsolved. These were just some of the topics of discussion attendees reminisced about at the first ever GSL Makah Reunion, hosted by Lakeside's Native American Student Alliance (NASA).
During an April activity period, Lakeside students who were part of the trip to the Makah reservation gathered to reflect on their time there, while enjoying frybread alongside fellow GSL Makah alum. Each grade in the Upper School was represented at the reunion, as well as several 8th grade students who made the trek to the Upper School campus to join in on the fun. Ravi S. '17, Makah, and I, Kallin S. '17, Aleut, are co-leaders of NASA, and we got the idea for a GSL Makah reunion partly because it holds a special place in Ravi's heart. Not only does the Makah trip bring Lakeside students to the reservation, it introduced Ravi to Lakeside.
Ravi: Then just a boy visiting the rez, I first came into contact with Lakesiders the summer of 6th grade when I joined a group of older kids playing soccer at Hobuck beach. They were 7th graders on a four week stay at the Makah reservation and they took me in as one of their own. After returning home to Seattle, I decided to apply to Lakeside. The following years I would see Lakesiders at Makah Days, until the trip eventually switched to its current form among the slate of trips for all 8th graders during of the school year. (Read about a student's experience on the Elwha reservation here.)
Kallin: We wanted to give alum of this middle school GSL trip the opportunity to share their experiences and stories with other students who also had stayed on the Makah reservation. Around 30 Lakeside students attended, and there were a lot of laughs and plenty of exciting stories shared around the room over frybread, jam and honey refreshments funded by the GSL office. We felt as if connecting NASA to the GSL Makah trip would remind the alum of their connection to the Native American community, and allow them to reflect on which aspects of their trip are still present in their lives today.
Ravi: A central aspect of our NASA mission is to promote cultural awareness through experience. This is one of a few events NASA did this year to that end, and the GSL trips themselves share that important goal. At the end of the reunion Kallin wrapped up by saying, "I went on a GSL trip this last summer and I know how much I learned, so I think experiences even closer to home, even just across the state, can widen one's perspective a lot more than in a classroom."
I added, "It's really important that instead of learning about things in an abstract way, that you experience it and that's what we hope the club can do: is give people an experience of things like Native culture, so people can have a better perspective, because I think that's lacking for most of the US. Because of that I'm glad we have trips like these."