Dozens of Lakota and other Native American allies are about to converge on Bridger, South Dakota, for a pilgrimage they've made every December for the last 32 years: a 300-kilometer journey on horseback, retracing the historic journey, of a Lakota chief and 350 of his followers

This year's ride begins Sunday. White Plume and dozens of riders, old and young, will saddle their horses for the seven-day ride across the frigid Plains, stopping, saddle sore, to camp at night.

It's an arduous journey, but White Plume said he doesn't feel the cold or the pain of hours in the saddle. "You just get into this spiritual realm I can't describe. ​It's a beautiful, peaceful feeling. I have a hard time breaking away from it to come back to reality."

Participants also walk and ride to help heal the area’s increasingly polluted waters and raise awareness about the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people. This spiritual journey started at Sisseton on December 10 and follows a route the Dakota people took as they attempted to escape along the Minnesota River.

“On last year’s ride, I was going to provide support for just a few days, but ended up going all the way,” said Jessie Neeland of Sisseton. “I had no idea how healing it would be, but I really needed it. Last year I drank a lot because I lost my aunt. I tried to go three times but I kept being brought back. When I got on the ride, I just took care of my horse and she took care of me. I can’t put what happened into words—it’s an unknowable part of healing—but it brought my spirit back to me.”

“On the walk, I know I can help, I can bring something good,” Neeland said. “There are many people out there that are feeling what I felt. Maybe they think no one cares for them or prays for them, but we do. We also educate people along the way—I talk to everyone about why we’re walking, even hotel clerks and gas station cashiers. A lot of people haven’t heard about this history or what is happening today but now they will know.”

By the late 20th century, Pine Ridge was one of the poorest spots in the United States. Unemployment hovered at 80 percent, housing was substandard, and life expectancy was the second lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Lakota language, culture and spiritual beliefs were all but lost, and the Nation lived in a state of grief and despair.

Responses to "Native Americans Ride to Remember Wounded Knee"

  1. DappleGrayArabian says:

    An Unbelievable Atrocity. Why and How can human beings Do such things... So Sorry for all the Wrong things done to the indigenous peoples... God's Word says "The meek shall inherit the Earth." I look forward to this time of a large family of kind people on a Paradise Earth. Another scripture says "God did not create the Earth for nothing. He created it to be inhabited." A beautiful home for all peoples. We are all related...

  2. I will be on your walk in spirit. I'm too old to ride but my lifelong passion has been First Peoples lives, cultures, language, disease and womens' rights in indigenous people.

  3. Unknown says:

    as redbone sung in the 70s, we were all wounded at wounded knee.........

  4. Unknown says:

    I hope and pray the spirit of those before you. I can not walk and be with you, but in my heart I am with every one of you.

  5. Dyan says:


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