By Jessica Yee
This year I’ve decided to join my Dakota/Lakota/Sicangu/Crow family on a journey they call the “Big Foot” or what it is now known as the “Future Generations Youth” ride. The story goes that 25 years ago, this ride started with the Lakota Youth of Pine Ridge (Red Cloud Agency) to retrace the steps of their ancestors from Standing Rock to Wounded Knee. This 7+ day non-stop horseback ride commemorates the December 1890 events with Chief Big Foot’s band, where more than 250 men, women and children were shot by the U.S. 7th Cavalry in the Wounded Knee massacre, including Sitting Bull.
Knowing that so many of the youth on this ride live through countless hardships, chose not to celebrate Christmas, and decided themselves to give back their time, energy, and spirit to their community in this most honorable way by riding on the trails of the ancestors during the so-called “holiday” season fills my heart and soul with incredible hope for what are next generations are capable of doing. I’m so completely excited to learn from all these youth I will meet.
Incidentally, it's okay with me if we give twentysomethings like Yee the power to get things done. Who do you think's going to accomplish more: 20- to 30-year-olds who are optimistic, energetic, and tuned into the Internet and new media, or 50- to 60-year-olds who are set in their ways, burdened with responsibilities, and unfamiliar with the latest technology. If I'm choosing sides, I'll be sure to pick a lot of youngsters for my team.