Native Sun News: Chief Bigfoot ride honors massacre victims

The following story was written and reported by Richie Richards, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Family of riders arriving at Red Owl Springs on Dec. 27, 2014.

Chief Bigfoot Band Memorial set to celebrate 25th anniversary in 2015
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

WOUNDED KNEE –– On the 124th Anniversary of the Chief Bigfoot Band Memorial Ride the riders arrived at the gravesite of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre victims on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

This ride of over 150 miles began on the Cheyenne River Reservation and honors the more than 300 men, women and children slaughtered at Wounded Knee.

Beginning with the shooting death of Sitting Bull on the Standing Rock Reservation on Dec. 15th, 1890 a small band of Hunkpapa left to seek protection with Chief Bigfoot (Spotted Elk) and their Mnicoujou allies. Together, they began their journey in the harsh winter towards the Pine Ridge Reservation and Chief Red Cloud.

They did not make it to their destination as they were intercepted by a detachment of the 7th Cavalry near the Wounded Knee Creek. Under the white flag of truce, on the morning of December 29th while attempting to “disarm” the Lakota a single shot was fired and led to the Army opening fire on the camp.

Four Hotchkiss guns began the rapid fire termination of lives and men on horseback chased down those running for their lives on foot.

This event has been etched in the collective cultural memory and remains as painful as the day it happened.

In 1986, a group of Lakota began the Si Tanka Wokiksuye (Chief Bigfoot Band Memorial Ride) to retrace the sacred journey of Chief Bigfoot in 1890. The original intent was to have a “Wiping of the Tears” ceremony to mourn for loved ones who have passed to the spirit world.

During the time of the South Dakota Year of Reconciliation in 1990, the participants of the Memorial Ride felt the need to continue the ride annually to honor Wounded Knee and to this day it continues as the Oamaka Tokatakiya (Future Generations Ride) and Chief Bigfoot Band Memorial Ride.

On Dec. 14th – 29th, 2015, the Chief Bigfoot Band and Future Generations Memorial Reunion Ride will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this sacred ride. The intent is to bring back riders from original Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride from 1986 – 1990.

Also, the planners of the 25th anniversary ride would like to make this an international event and honor all nations and peoples affected by genocide and holocaust survivors alike. Wounded Knee is the story repeated throughout history and is the story of the colonization of the world.

According to Percy White Plume, an original rider and coordinator of the Ride, he would like call on those original participants from 1986-1990 to take part this year. Mr.WhitePlume would like to have a rider on horseback for all those who perished on that frozen Monday in Wounded Knee 1890.

“The Si Tanka Wokiksuye and Oamaka Tokatakiya is a healing ride; a time for us to remember the people we lost and to begin the healing,” says White Plume.

For more information regarding the ride or supporting the event, please visit their Facebook page at Chief Bigfoot Band Memorial Ride.

(Contact Richie Richards

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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