December 29, 2011

25th annual ride to Wounded Knee

Annual Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride to Wounded Knee ConcludesThe story of Wounded Knee is embedded deep into the conscious and culture of American Indians from all tribes. That the story is retold so often is a testament to its lasting power over our imaginations, the lessons learned something never to be forgotten. It is, in essence, a wound that must be addressed and remembered so it won’t fester. The 25th Annual Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride, which commemorates Chief Big Foot’s band of Minneconjou Lakota and their flight from Standing Rock Reservation to Wounded Knee on December 29th, 1890, is remembrance in motion, a 191-mile journey through the badlands in the middle of winter in an effort to honor the past, and those who have walked on.

As the Wounded Knee Museum’s blog stated, the beginning ceremonies were held in McLaughlin, South Dakota, at the Standing Rock Reservation on December 14th. The riders then began their journey to Chief Sitting Bull’s camp on December 15th, the place where he was assassinated on that day in 1890. There, the riders offered prayers and remembrance as they continued their journey to Wounded Knee Creek, which ended this morning, December 29th, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where hundreds of Lakota were massacred by the 7th Cavalry.

As the Great Plains Examiner explains, the 191-mile horseback ride to Wounded Knee was first retraced by the Big Foot Memorial Riders in 1986. In 1990, a ceremony was performed at the site of the massacre and the group was renamed the Future Generation Riders. This year’s journey marks the 25th consecutive ride to Wounded Knee.
Eye-Opening Wounded Knee Journey Becomes Family AffairIt has turned into a family affair for the Kuntzes—Melanie, now 22, and her sister Jamie, 20, who have both ridden the road since they were teenagers. At first their father made them do it. But one ride, and they were converts, as this stirring story in the Great Plains Examiner relates.

“I just remember being so upset that we were going,” Melanie Kuntz told the newspaper of her first trip as an unwilling 14-year-old. “But after getting down there and riding, it was like a complete 180. When I was done, I was so glad I did it.”
Comment:  For more on Wounded Knee, see Why Wounded Knee Matters and The Wounded Knee Museum.

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