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Riding to remember

todayMay 30, 2024 2

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CHARLES MIX COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) – A group of people from multiple area Native American tribes are journeying over 300 miles this week and next week — and they’re doing it on horseback.

KELOLAND’s Lauren Soulek and Dan Santella joined them on their ride earlier this week through Charles Mix County.

For centuries, man and horse have had a special bond.

“They’re healing,” Jim Hallum from the Santee Sioux Reservation said.“Probably talk to horses more than I talk to people,” Isaiah Keeble from Fort Thompson said.“If I’m having bad days, I just go out and talk to them and then they kind of reply back to me, kind of help me a little bit,” Darrian Rencountre from Fort Thompson said.

It’s a bond that the riders are honoring as they travel through South Dakota’s grasslands with some important messages.

“I can ride for grandmas and our moms and stuff,” Braylon Rabbit from Fort Thompson said.“It’s fun, riding for MMIR and MMIW,” Hehaka Little from Marty, South Dakota, said.“So what we’re doing here is we’re practicing our belief,” Wilfred Keeble from Fort Thompson said.

Jim Hallum, Perry Little and Wilfred Keeble were a few of the creators of this memorial ride from the Santee Reservation in northeast Nebraska to Fort Thompson, S.D. around 2015. Hallum says the ride started as a way to honor children who lost their lives and the women who suffered in the Fort Thompson area following exile from Minnesota in the 1860s.

“It’s not in the books, history books, of what happened,” Hallum said. “We ended up finding out what the women went through there and all the children that died, there was over 300 there. Nobody knows the exact number, so over 300. Those children are buried on the hills over there.”

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The memorial ride has since lengthened as a way to raise awareness for a current issue plaguing Native American communities.

“Someone asked us to ride for the MMIW, MMIR, so we rode on to Pierre,” Hallum said. “We rode on to Pierre, South Dakota, and we ride for them too because there are so many today. I know, geez, I lost count now how many people I’ve known that are gone today. That are missing today.”

And this year the riders are going even further to Green Grass, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Reservation to honor their beliefs and give thanks for the life they’ve been given.

“Somebody brought this up and they wanted to do that because we wanted to give thanks to the pipe, to the Chanupa,” Hallum said. “We wanted to give thanks, we wanted to leave offerings for the Chanupa and for the White Buffalo Calf Woman. We wanted to give thanks to her, she’s just like our Jesus, you know, Jesus Christ.”

Along the way, they spend their evenings camping and sharing knowledge.

“Putting tipi up and watering horses and putting panels up and, team effort” Wilfred Keeble said.

“Trying to teach the kids, you know, that respect and honor and all that was given to us long ago and we need to keep doing that, you know,” Perry Little from Marty, South Dakota, said.

In the morning, they ride on again.

“If you want to come join us, come join us,” Hallum said. “That’s why we’re here, that’s why we do these things. We want to bring that awareness, we want to bring some actions, that’s what it is.”

The riders are expecting to be in the Fort Thompson area this Saturday, June 1st, and then in Pierre on Tuesday, June 4th. They’ll finish their ride on Saturday, June 8th, in Green Grass, South Dakota.

Hallum says you can stay updated on their ride through his Facebook page.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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