The van was full of Lakota kids who had spent so
much time on the reservation they didn’t know
about the Badlands anymore. It had been drained
from their Indian blood. They didn’t know the
Badlands could be bad, so like a bunch of silly,
urban white kids who were in the van, too, they
jumped out and ran through the tall grass to get
to the rim to look down into canyons, ravines,
gullies from buttes, mesas and hoodoo tops. They
didn’t know them by name nor did they have the
proper respect for the beauty and the danger.
They no longer understood how to navigate the
terrain. On the way they scared up a couple of
rattlesnakes who, fortunately, scooted away.
The kids just jumped and screamed and continued
running. Thankfully, they knew enough to stop
at the edge of what for them was simply the beaut-
iful abyss for lack of a better name. They had
forgotten (or had never learned) much, their red
blood having been drained to white.