Lakota Sioux Hold Historic Ride Through Badlands National Park

Sunday, January 23 2011 15:40   Native Americans
Honoring those who lost their lives at the Wounded Knee massacre, Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands ended 2010 by hosting an annual ride that is now renamed to connect with future generations.

Known for the past 23 years as the Bigfoot Memorial Ride, made up Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, and Cheyenne River Reservations, the new name from the annual ride is now the Future Generations ride (Omaka Tokatakiya).

Held Dec. 24-25, the ride consisted of 300 participants (more than 100 on horseback) following the trail of Chief Bigfoot's ride from Standing Rock to Wounded Knee.

The purpose of the ride was to honor the more than 250 men, women and children who lost their lives on Dec. 29, 1890, in a confrontation with the U.S. 7th Cavalry in what has become known as the Wounded Knee massacre.

In 2010, the Bigfoot Memorial Ride was renamed as the Future Generations Ride to accurately reflect the multiple goals and mission: Commemorating the 1890 ride over the same route, providing a time for prayer and spiritual connection, and building a bridge to the next generation.

"We finished our time of mourning for our ancestors," said organizer Jeremiah Young Bull Bear, "and it's time to move on and celebrate life with a new generation."

Participants said that the ride is a way of practicing their culture, renewing cultural heritage values, and learning to work with others in the challenging natural environment of the northern plains winter.

Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands have worked with the Lakota Sioux in a long term partnership, providing an excellent case in point on how agencies work together to accomplish a mutual mission to serve the public.

Park Service and Forest Service staffs have worked together for the last several years to improve the overnight camping site and access to the Badlands. Badlands law enforcement rangers provided special use permit monitoring and emergency services during the event.

Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota. The park's geologic deposits contain one of the world's richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here.

The park's 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today. For more information on the park, visit the Website at


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