EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. – In north central South Dakota rests the town of Eagle Butte, a small city nestled on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The rural community is home to about 1,500 people, most of which are Native American and many who will spend their entire lives on the reservation.
It’s a place steeped in rich culture, a place locked in time where family still comes first … It’s a place free from the fast-paced workaday mentality in the cities just a few hundred miles away.
But like any community the people of Eagle Butte are not so different. They still need business owners, mechanics, doctors, and nurses; however, unlike other communities most of these skilled laborers don’t migrate to the reservation for work, so the reservation depends on its own people to make a difference.
Randi Peacock is one of these people. The Eagle Butte native who was born and raised on the reservation is now a registered nurse at Indian Health Services in Eagle Butte and says she has always had a desire to help and care for people, but it wasn’t until she enrolled at Presentation College that she understood her true calling.
“I really learned who I was at PC and felt like I was starting my career as soon as I walked through the doors,” she said.
Randi graduated from the rigorous nursing program at Presentation College in 2006 and spent a few years in Rapid City, S.D. and Denver, before returning home to help her own people.
“I really feel like I am making a difference here and I know now that I am doing what I was meant to be doing in life,” she said.
Randi attributes many of her success to the faculty and staff at Presentation College for helping her achieve her goals but also said that it’s all about what you put into it.
“I really enjoyed the small classrooms and one-on-one time with the instructors because you become very close with them,” she said. “If you are dedicated to your schooling the staff will go above and beyond to help you in any way possible.”
“Getting to work with people who you have known your whole life and getting to help people that you know personally is a great feeling, its home,” she added.
Randi is now setting a great example for the youth of Eagle Butte and only hopes that future generations will follow in her footsteps.
“There are opportunities here that some people are just not aware of,” she said.
* Story by Tim Beckham, Photo by Mark Zoellner