Meeting Suzy & Perry Mesteth, Oglala Sioux:
We had misunderstood the day and time of encounter with Dennis Yellow Thunder, and found ourselves alone and lost at the Gas station of Pine Ridge. What could have become a disastrous adventure in the first days of the trip lent to a very enlightening encounter with an Oglala Sioux couple, Suzy and Perry.
Some of us still regret strongly that after all they showed us, we did not stay more time, to share the evening and eat that traditional Timpsilla soup !!
But patience, we will come again Suzy & Perry !
Memories of the French visitors by Lloydell "Suzy" Mesteth:
"I met these wonderful people by chance…We seen them at the 4-way corner of our little town of Pine Ridge. We pulled in to talk to them to see if they needed help. Immediately Sylvie came up to us because she was the only one who could speak English. We talked a bit and found out they were looking for Dennis Yellow Thunder. We invited them to come to our house to wait.
When they got to our house we sat and visited about everything we could think of. We enlightened everyone one on what we knew of our culture and our experiences of growing up and living on the reservation and also share memories of family members who impacted our lives.
I shared my thoughts about my nephew Toby Ray Eagle Bull who was in a tragic accident and lost his life. I wanted everyone to know how wonderful of a person he was and how he was such a great athlete and how he loved skateboarding and how he always wanted a skate park here in our town. We as a family have accomplished that in his memory.
We now have the Wounded Knee Four Directions-Toby Eagle Bull memorial skate park and it is the largest skate park in South Dakota. We have a competition every August during our Oglala Nation Days. This is such a blessed event and I would love for Sylvie and anyone else that wants to, to come and be a part of this day. It is always the first Friday of August.
After we got acquainted with everyone, and FINALLY got in touch with Dennis the night turned out to be a fantastic time, and it was hard to see everyone leave. I am truly honored to be a part of this film and I am grateful for the kindness everyone showed us. I would love to continue my friendship that I have with everyone and I am proud to say that you are all my family from another land."
Suzy writes about the Toby Eagle Bull memorial skate park :
"My nephew Toby Ray Eagle Bull was an avid skateboarder. He loved this sport and back then skateboarding was kinda frowned upon. He and my son Kyle Mesteth went all over town to skate. They sometimes got in trouble by the choices of places that they skated. He always had a dream of having a skatepark here in Pine Ridge. When he came to his tragic death, the family was torn and hurt.
In the year 2009 I met up with a childhood friend Walt Pourier. We talked about Tobys "Dream" and it was like we were sent to each other because Walt designs skateboards and works with skateboarders (famous and professional). We put our ideas and dreams together and that is how we succeeded in making Tobys dream come true. We have an annual skateboarding event the first friday of August (during our annual Oglala Nation Days) in his memory and my family along with Wounded Knee skateboarding four directions-Jim Murphy(pro skater) and Walt Pourier-Stronghold Society get together and honor and remember Toby. We have many talented skateboarders here on our reservation and it is always a successful event.
During the construction of the skatepark, Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam band was one of the major contributers. It would be honorable if Sylvie and her friends can join us someday to celebrate, honor and remember Toby."
please read more about why the Toby Eagle Bull memorial skate park here:
in Skate Park Insider (Spring 2013) : A Skate Park for Native American Youth in Pine Ridge
in Native American Times (18 october 2011) : 'Skating saves lives’ theme for Pine Ridge skate-park
in Native Village Youth and Education news (December, 2011) : Pine Ridge skatepark a promise for the future