They gathered under a brilliant blue sky to remember those who were massacred at Wounded Knee
WOUNDED KNEE—Under a brilliant winter blue sky, the Big Foot Riders arrived Sunday at the Wounded Knee gravesite to pay respect to the ancestors who were massacred near Wounded Knee Creek by the U.S. 7th Calvary Regiment.
Big Foot left frozen at Wounded Knee in 1890.
“I try to envision what it felt like for them as they went into Wounded Knee, not knowing what was going to happen,” reflects Percy White Plume, a 55-year old Lakota, who had the vision in 1986 to have the annual Big Foot Ride, named for the great Lakota leader who was murdered 123 years ago and left a frozen image embedded in many minds.
“When we began it back in 1986, we thought we would do it for five years up until the 100th anniversary in 1990, but many felt the ride should continue. So, the name technically was changed to the ‘Future Generations Ride’ – even though most people still call it the Big Foot Ride. I love to see the young people ride,” continued White Plume.
On Sunday, over 100 gathered at the Wounded Knee gravesite to remember and to pray.
The Eagle Staffs arrive at Wounded Knee
“Personally, I love being at Wounded Knee to pray for the ancestors who died here and to pray all indigenous people who are still suffering. I pray they have a better life,” said White Plume.
Lakota Diane DuBray, who grew up in Allen on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and now lives in Lawrence, Kansas, was there in support of the Big Foot Riders who came to Wounded Knee for the brief prayer ceremony.
“My spirit has a sense of contentment when I am home, here with the Lakota Oyate during this time we remember our ancestors and the massacre at Wounded Knee. I empathize with the riders who ride in bitter cold temperatures regardless if it is below zero and the wind chill factor. It’s what our ancestors lived through and I am proud of our riders. The feeling is empowering when we are all together,” commented DuBray.
Richard Milda, Oglala Lakota/Crow, rode last week in both the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride and Big Foot Ride. He joined up with the Big Foot Riders in Red Water, South Dakota on Friday after ending the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride in Mankato, Minnesota on Thursday on the 151st anniversary of the execution of 38 American Indians that was ordered by President Abraham Lincoln.
“I ride in the rides because it has to do how I was taught. Some years ago, I had chance to meet with elders. They taught me about appeasement for the wrongs that were done against our people. It is a sort of wiping away tears for us to remember and to acknowledge it should never happen to anyone else in the world again. We have to remember how ugly and hurtful these things were to our people by the U.S. government,” said a tired Milda to the Native News Online on Sunday night.
The Big Foot Ride’s typical crowd was down in size because of a threatening winter storm that was forecasted for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Sunday.
They rode to remember those who died at Pine Ridge after being wounded at Wounded Knee.
Some of the riders left Wounded Knee and rode to Pine Ridge village.
“This was the fifth year riders rode from Wounded Knee to Pine Ridge. An elder told us in eloquent Lakota that we should do it to honor those who died at Pine Ridge in 1890. The elder reminded us that about half of those who died as the result of the massacred actually died at Pine Ridge after being transported from Wounded Knee,” said White Plume.
The Big Foot Ride is about paying respect to the ancestors who died 123 years ago, according to White Plume.