I rush off and dash to jet-set again for yet another destination
and another area of Turtle Island Im reminded this
time around that the place Im going to requires me to stop,
pause, and really think about what it is Im about to do.
year Ive 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 Foots
band, where more than 250 men, women and children were shot by the
U.S. 7th Cavalry in the Wounded Knee massacre, including Sitting
wrote about this ride last year, along with the Dakota 38, when
I learned about them here: http://www.shamelessmag.com/blog/2008/12/riding-to-remember/
At the time I honestly thought it would have been at least a few
years before I might eventually do one of these rides myself. It
was one of those yeah, I hope Ill do it ONE day
type of things, but last month things changed for me and I knew
I had to do it.
riding because to be honest my frustrations with differing
opinions on what actualizing Aboriginal youth leadership really
means have been maxed out on many different fronts and far too many
occasions as of late where people saying they support youth is one
thing, but actually DOING something where youth ARE actually in
power and being leaders and taking up our rightful space is quite
another (and in most instances not happening at all despite the
nice and fine talk about it at conference after conference
or if it is happening it was short-lived since apparently people
didnt seem to be used to youth having that
much power. Its really just bullshit).
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.
Im so completely excited to learn from all these youth I will
also riding because I need to do my best to go somewhere where Ill
be forced to feel ultimately guilty for checking the Blackberry
and doing work on the computer (or at least go to a place where
Ill have limited access so tough shit for me).
importantly of all these though Im riding to support
some of my family living in South Dakota. They have continuously
welcomed me with open arms into their home and life, and I have
received so many teachings from watching their devotion to building
up our communities again from some very tough places, and adopting
children and increasing their family unit daily, on top of it. These
people are Richard Milda, Tawa Witko, all their wonderful and beautiful
children, and I especially mean Maria Milda. Marias strength
and tenacity to persevere through all kinds of difficult situations
these past few years and come out of it stronger and wiser is a
huge inspiration for me. It basically shows that she has done somewhat
of a Big Foot ride herself in her 15 years of life so
far and I want to ride to honor THAT.
breaking down borders and were coming together for our future
generations. I might not be from South Dakota myself, but the border
is up here (Im pointing to my head) and what we need to remember
is the innate strength of our unity as peoples across Turtle Island
being down here (Im pointing to my heart) and what we are
prepared to DO about it. Im hoping to find out more of what
thats all about during this ride.
Id like to say Ill blog or write and keep you all updated
on whats happening out there but Im not sure
if Im going to do that both because of access and because
Im not sure how my body and spirit are going to fare with
this to decide if thats the right thing to do.
sure to check out the Facebook Fan page Big Foot Memorial Riders/Si
Tanka Riders for all the latest updates they will be posting.
well. And take care of each other.