The Zuya Akicita Color Guard, from left: William Takes Him First, Shawnee Red Bear, Sid Reddest, Al Loafer, Kim Conroy, Cornell Reddest, Rodney Bad Hand. Photo courtesy Shawnee Red Bear

Veterans to walk across Pine Ridge Reservation

Native Sun News Today Correspondent

PINE RIDGE – Beginning on the day after Veteran’s Day this year, a group of veterans and their supporters will walk across the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Vets Walk will begin on the eastern boundary of the reservation, twenty-two miles east of the town of Wanblee on Tuesday, November 12 at 7 a.m. and end on the western boundary of the reservation between Buffalo Gap and Cuny Table on Saturday, November 16 at 5 p.m.

Organized by Oglala Sioux Tribal Veteran Service Officer, Shawnee Red Bear and Cameron Lafferty of the OST Homeless Veteran Shelter, the goal of the Vets Walk is to honor the past and present Lakota veterans of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

The Lakota hold veterans in high regard. These men and women are placed on a highly respected status for their dedication to their community and for serving in the armed services. Native Americans enter into the branches of the military at a much higher rate than other cultural groups.

According to Red Bear, “Anyone can participate, we will have liability waivers for the public to sign.”

The organizer would like to invite the public, veterans, service members and their supporters to come to the walk. There will be a series of four nights of camping along the way.

On the first night, walkers will camp in the town of Wanblee and on night two, those in attendance will be camping at the Veterans Lakota Freedom Cemetery. This cemetery was dedicated on July 9, 2014, and is the resting place of Oglala Lakota veterans.

The first burial was that of Eugene Long Soldier on August 22, 2014. Veteran’s Lakota Freedom Cemetery is located in the town of Kyle.

“The finish of day two will conclude at the veterans’ cemetery, we are asking for volunteers to help make 25 wreaths to be laid on each veteran’s grave buried there,” Red Bear said.


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