Updated: Jan 5, 2018
Today we ride into Wounded Knee to pay our respects to the ancestors who died there and to thank the Creator that we still live. It is a somber but joyous day. Mother Earth cradles the bones of hundreds of our people in a mass grave while their spirits ride with us. It is a powerful moment to ride down into this valley where so many died. A place where our culture almost ended.
In the words of Black Elk, a Wounded Knee survivor, "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch, as plain as I saw them with eyes still young and I can see that something else died there, in the bloody mud and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream."
I will wear those words on my back today as I ride. Black Elk often spoke of our Tree of Life that he feared had withered and died from the violence and hardship brought upon our people. Today our voices will ring out into the cold air to reassure him and all our ancestors that that Tree still lives and our tears will water it's roots.
Lakota proud. Lakota strong.