The Big Foot Riders of Wounded Knee

Rocketboom had a piece this week on the Big Foot Riders of Wounded Knee. For the past 19 years, a group of Lakota men have completed a ceremonial ride along the path Chief Big Foot followed from Bull Head, North Dakota to Wounded Knee, South Dakota, where some 200 men, women, and children were killed in the last armed engagement between the U.S. Cavalry and the Lakota Sioux in December 1890. Each winter the event draws dozens of new riders and hundreds of new spectators far into to the Dakota Badlands. Correspondent Mitt Lee closes his piece with a question, which host Amanda Congdon invites Rocketboom visitors to answer:

This event is like so many things in Indian country. Different people coming together—Indians, folks who want to touch Indians, young people who love the idea of it all, the foreign press—all of these people coming together. It’s cold, there’s not enough money, and they come anyway. Longing for what? For spirituality? For connection? For what?

This question—why ordinary people do history—is the foundational problem of Found History. And if I hear Lee and Congdon correctly, Rocketboom and Found History agree that this question will only be answered by throwing it back to those people themselves, by taking stock of the many ways they do history and listening to their reasons why.

Lots of answers are provided by the Rocketboom visitors who answered Congdon’s invitation. Here are just a few of the more than 100 responses received:

For Hope! Hope that humanity can transcend its history of cruelty, terror, and greed. To become something beyond what we currently continue to be, a people who value you human life above all else. –Rob Sidio

Our motto on our license plates here in Québec is: ”Je me souviens” or I remember. It refers to many important turning points in our past history. Something remembered gives it life. –Lukian

To bear witness. –David

We should keep in mind that the reasons will be different for all who participate. Some will walk for political rights; some walk for spirituality; some walk to remind themselves and their children of a heritage that is becomming lost; some walk to strengthen unity; some walk for respect; etc. It is a community of people, with different reasons for walking, but with one thing in common: time. –Kati

it’s a sense of Family; it feels necessary to know where you come from. native or non-native American, 200+ years later we’re Family. everything that happened back then is part of the mix that makes us what we are today. –Gary

For warmth. I could feel the chilly wind across the screen. –13bandido

for 140 different reasons (differing from day to day and generally increasing in number as thay approach Wounded Knee) some noble, some trite, some ignoble. The expression of a community as a community. We should all find such a community to be part of. –JsrNull

In order to be a part of something that seems to be larger than oneself. –gordon wohlert

If you have to answer, you’ve missed the point. –Mark B

One Reply to “The Big Foot Riders of Wounded Knee”

  1. Out of respect and rememberance for those ancestors,and to honour them,to ride that spirit trail with them and attempt to grasp their suffering…to walk the red road is to know suffering and hardship,…and to understand our past,its who we are and shapes our future

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