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Little Bighorn Ride 2014

June 20 to 26 2014 Pine Ridge, South Dakota

By Wendell Yellow Bull

The Oglala’s have been preparing for the whole year for the Little Big Horn Memorial Cultural Horse Ride 2014, the countdown started from a year, then a months, next it was weeks, now with a day’s left, it is crunch time, now it is down to the hours. But as usual we are still not prepared. Oh well, we will get there one way or another.
The Little Big Horn Cultural Ride T-shirt design had me worried, with three weeks left, it wasn’t on the drawing board, “it is okay”, I kept saying to myself, at the last minute, I asked a local artist Keven Poor Bear, who came through with the Little Big Horn Ride 2014 Design. “Wopila” He even had fallen ill, but he had come through with the art design.
The Little Big Horn Memorial Cultural Horse Ride funding again never came, as usual we the Sunka Wakan Na Wakan Awicagilpi left with the shirts on our back, the message to our children something’s are more important than money. We will survival and the “Tunkasila” will provide for us. A warrior Shout “HOKA!”

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6/20/2014 Pine Ridge to Ashland Montana

The Little Big Horn Memorial Cultural Horse Ride journey begins today, June 20, 2014 it has start as usual late!, the time was set two days earlier. There was still excitement and the wanting to go on to Montana for The Little Big Horn Memorial Horse Ride, right now, it is the talk among the Youth Riders. The Little Big Horn Memorial Riders have been wondering will this day will ever come but today it is here! The Yellow Bull Ti’wahe arrived at William Shorty” Brewer place with visitors, who have journey from New York, New York, they had participated in a Short Horse Ride near the United Nation Building calling the Horse ride “unity ride”.
Before we started to travel, we took a group picture and I yelled “the Warrior Shout” “Hoka” we all jumped into our vehicles and the horse trailers in tow “We are now going To Montana” it is Ashland, Montana are bust”. There is a special feeling when people travel together, a sense of belong and loyalty to each other, to face those miss-happen’ that do arise on the roadway.
For me, it is here but Travel day did start slow, “but that is okay” we all said at the meeting, we are going to start the travel at 10:00 am. I still had Spare Tire issues for the camper, need the camper for Delores to do her dialysis Treatment. Kept her cool during warm day and during the night. I was asked by young person, why do I take the camper, I didn’t want him to know, why, so I told him I paid my dues with tent in the rain, wind and very hard storms. It is your time to get use to all the weather conditions, as a young Rider. He Laughed
As we, traveled there was no roadside break-down, we had no problems, From Pine Ridge until Rapid City. The first problem started from Rapid City, it was one of the horse trailer tire had a leak, but we had a spare tire.
William Shorty Brewer had tire issues, later he also had a blow-out, the tire was replaced but, next the Spare tire began rubbing on the Horse Trailer frame, there was a lot of smoke from the tire rubbing against the frame of the Horse Trailer, those who were behind him thought that their vehicle was on fire, or had electric problems, some said they were getting ready to jump from their vehicle. LOL
It has to be said it is these moments that bring people together, the spirit of facing adversity and moving on. Never giving up, but, Constance thinking of solutions and solving the problems, at that moment knowing that you have limited resources. This is where young riders learn by seeing that the older rider’s show, what patients can do, when problems are done with a good thought, not rushing into a problem and knowing that later, finding out that you have used, the only limited resource, now you are struck for sure. This is what experience is Hoka!.

6/21/14 Ashland, Montana

The Ashland Montana morning is misty but with a touch of sun light, beaming through the mist, it has sort of calming effect but the eagerness of the riders to get on their horses to make today ride. You could hear the horse whining and call to each other, riders getting their gear ready to be put onto their horses. “There is excitement in the air”
Older riders looking for a cup of open flame brewed coffee, we older riders have been reduce to camp movers and camp set uppers. Lol, Billy Jumping Eagle yelling coffee here, but there are no cups for the coffee to be pour into, others manage to bring out their own fancy cups from insulted cups or just coffee cup from the convenience store, where they got their fuel.
Each older riders had their own stories of what happen to them, as they made their ways to Ashland Montana, as for Billy Jumping Eagle, he had fuel line problems. They left in the morning but they arrived at the same time as we did at midnight. Each talked about when they use to ride their own horse on this ride, some would make a jester to say that next year they are going to ride at least the first day, but this was said last year, and the year before.
We, The Little Big Horn Memorial Riders were in good spirits, waiting for breakfast to be served by the Jenny Parker family, Cheyenne grandmother, who the Oglala’s Hunkayapi as unci “grandmother” she is family to us the Oglala’s Riders.
The feeling of being in a different place, on the Cheyenne Homeland, as in the past we knew that we have to depend on each other, and come to each other aid, now this the time and it is upon us. This is, what the young Rider will see that older working together is the most important part of the riders world.

It is good morning “Hehani Waste” the youths are up and getting ready for the ride from Ashland to Lame deer Montana. The Oglala Riders are getting the saddle and water ready for travel, they are talking with each other, it has been three weeks since some of the riders seen each other, it was during the Veteran Ride.
It is time to eat “wota” “yelo” we make our way to the Ashland Pow-wow ground, the parker family are in place to serve their meal. The young riders are laughing and joking around as they make their way to the serving line. In the past the Oglala’s would have eaten on the move with their own carrying pouch of dry meal and a little chokecherry mix.
The meal is done and the shout to circle-up, it is time to travel, I yell circle-up in five minutes, once Circled, we began our part of preparing to travel, a rider lights native sage to smudge our horses and ourselves.
It the signal for us to offer our prayers to Tunkasila for a safe ride and good health for us and the horses. One of the elder riders, gives his advice, as you ride offer prayers for those who are home that have life struggles, with illness and social ills, addictions and poverty. This is historical ride, we as people took a stand to Live!. We honor those who are still fighting the battle at the Little Big Horn, their spirit need our support by riding to acknowledge their sacrifice by giving their lives, so we can live. “Hoka Hey” A warrior shout
The Oglala Scout are instructed to go head, and staff carrier are asked to make four complete circle and then, ride out from within the circle, it is the beginning of the Little Big Horn Ride 2014, “Hoka” A warrior Shout.
Now it is the older riders, who are just camp jack it is our turn began to make our journey to the Lame deer, once the camp and corral panels are set-up, we must then go a follow the horse riders. We will bring the water, and I am there with my first-aid knowledge, First-aid supplies.
We had one accident, a little rider fell off a Shetland pony, and appears that she had broken her elbow, I stabilize the arm and her taken to the hospital, found out later, and that she did break her elbow and metal pin had to place onto the bone to hold in place. This is where I help with Knowledge of Emergency Medical Technician Training, I make do with what supplies and equipment I have, I am Train to Adapt with resource are available.
We finally arrive at the Lame Deer Pow-wow Grounds, the sound of horse hoofs on the pavement and riders, and chanting and talking; the leadership of the Scout and Staff Carriers brought everyone safe to the second starting point.
The Little Big Horn Memorial Horse Riders circle-up, the staff are taken by the elders and who completes the prayer for the good day, and now, he tell the Riders it is time to water your horses and take the gear off them. Make your camp and evening meal will served. Hoka!.

6/22/2014 Lame Deer

It is Lame Deer Montana, morning has started early for the Oglala’s Riders, Someone yelled “all horses are gone from the corral”, and the alarm is sounded. I am making my way to the truck. I began my search for the horses. I see Shorty truck, he said that the horses are found, the horses were going to Lame Deer Township, a few horses were caught and riders are chasing the rest of the horses toward to camp.
The Oglala’s and Cheyenne Riders began to circle-up, to start our prayers for the day: First, it will be the instruction from the Elder rider, he told to the riders they must look after each as we travel along side of the road to reach our camp in Busby Montana. There will be Large Trucks and the most feared the Tourist stopping to take picture, even to jeopardize their own lives. Without looking out for themselves they don’t realize, they there a large semi-tractor truck Carrying heavy cargo and traveling at very high speed, usually they are right behind tourist.
There will be Akicita Chosen to ride along the side of the Highway, to intercept or kept the kids horses from riding on to the highway. You will listen to them, if they tell you to stay away from the Highway. They know you want to ride, and sometime runs a bit but horse play can sometimes get out of hand, you might forget that you are riding along a very busy highway. Our grandmother Jenny Parker gave me two florescence Vest to have the Akicita Riders wear them to be visible to traffic.
We asked a Cheyenne Rider to offer a prayer for us to begin our travel to first our breakfast site and through the town of Lame Deer. Usually they are the Cheyenne memebers who come to see us ride through the town. For the young rider it is a treat for them to see many Cheyenne encouraging them, they Le’le’Le’ is yelled at them
“Hoka” A warrior Shout: the prayer is done, the Scouts are summon to ride ahead and the staff carriers are instructed to make four circle and leave to the First stop which will be the breakfast site. It has to be mention that: A Oglala Eagle staff protocol for all riders older and younger are not to ride in front of the staffs.

This is where an Akicita Society member will remind them get behind the staff. There are Traditional Akicita Society member, who made commitments through the Sacred Pipe, who are part of this ride, I myself who is an Akicita Society member, who made commitment for life under the Sacred Pipe “Canupa”. Hoka ! A Warrior Shout
We arrived at the Breakfast site, as we enter the grounds, there is a Cheyenne drum group who are sing their welcoming back there warriors song from a battle. As we ride into the camp, there is an older Cheyenne Elk Scrapper Society member, who has welcome us, to their homes.


The Breakfast is held at a battle field were an Lakota “lone antelope” was killed by United States Army Soldiers, The Lame Deer community was named after him. Each year the Elk Scrappers Society provided a meal for us as we pass through, in honor of Lone Antelope, who inspired them to take a stand to live, this years was no exception.
A leader of the Elk Scrappers Society, address the Oglala’ and Cheyenne Riders he told of the battle that took place here at their homes site and they will continual to protect the site. He mention that the young people who are the generation, who must learn the Ska Wicasa, “Whiteman” world, not just only to communicate with them but also to keep a watchful eye. They do thing that are not so good for our people, so we need to instruct our children to learn as much as they can of their world. We must also remember that we still have the understanding of our world, and It is our respect for the nature of the world that makes human beings.


The breakfast is done, we as riders began to line up to shake the Elk Scrappers family hands and give Wopila for the food. The older riders wait and let riders circle-up, summon the scouts to ride on and the staff carriers to make their four circle and then leave for the long ride, it will be eight hour before we reach the next camp.
After all Oglala’s and Cheyenne riders have left, The Oglala’s older Riders make their hands shakes and thank them and give Wopila and tell them to meet us on rest day. We are going to give out The Little Big Horn Memorial horse Ride 2014 T-shirts.
Wow! It is the Cheyenne town people showing support for the Oglala’s and Cheyenne Riders, who have for many years, who rode through their Lame Deer Township.
Now it is the Highway, at this point all the older riders now become more aware, it going to be the big truck that are going fast and tourist who just want to take a picture. “Without thinking”
We finally reach the Muddy Creek Community building, and stop for water break when Oglala Elder Mel Lone Hill decided to Ride a horse for a short distance. So now the all rider all focus, since he isn’t to riding horse at all due to his health problem, but it send a silent message, he is here as rider and will support the Little Big Horn memorial horse Ride. Hoka Hey “ A warrior shout”.
We arrived at the busby Camp site, the sun is setting, and the staff carriers have enter the camp site and as always the horse circle-up and to give a Prayers of Wopila for a safe ride. A prayer is said and the riders are instructed to take care of their horses.
It is evening most are looking for shower and the campers are move toward the busby community high School. We will rest, and riders will gather among themselves to talk about the day.

6/23/14 Crow Agency: The battle of the Little Big Horn Field

The morning, the sun (Wi) has been blinded by the clouds, so we as riders could have a cool today to finish the Little Big Horn Cultural Horse Ride. This is day that always remind us, it is the end of riding horse for the little Big Horn Memorial Horse Ride 2014.
As we circle-up is an Oglala elder rider, again reminded the young riders that some of our relative from long ago, who gave all, their “lives”. Their generation have not left the Little Big Horn Battlefield, but through their sacrifice, it is our responsibility as Oglala’s and Cheyenne to not to forget them. We also must continue to remember, who we are “we are the Oglala’s and Cheyenne” who took a stand to fight, so that we can live as human beings.
As the Little Big Horn Memorial Horse Riders, we must remember, those who never left the battle Field, and who given us a chance to survival in this trouble world the United States Government created for their people to live. To remember that we are native to this land, and by pushing the label of American onto us it will not make us forget that we our natives to this land, and that we are human beings that we have our own way of life and it is not about material things that makes us civilized with a Soul, but our spiritual and relationship to Ina Maka. Hoka Hey! A warrior Shout.
A prayer is said, and the scouts are summon to leave for the Battlefield Site and Staff carriers are to make their four circle and ride out, we will be traveling toward Crow Country allies of the United State Government.
We still have to watch out for the tourist and the fast moving semi-trucks, we stop at our first stop for water. We finally reach the last stop which is near the Little Big Horn Battle Field Site, now it is truly coming to the end of the Little Big Horn Memorial Horse Ride 2014, as we past our horse charge area, our spirit are lifted and the oglala’s riders began to chant, shouting A warrior Shout, to make the Crow Country Oyate to hear us, to let them know we are travel through their country. We didn’t go away we are survivors’ of those, who fought the United States Calvary
We gather at the Crow park and did our prayer and load our horses to be taken back to Busby for rest day and make our coop stick and take the youths to swim at the Crazy Head Dam.

6/24/2014

It is rest day, most of the Oglala’s Riders are waiting for breakfast, and some have left for the shower room at the Busby Community High School. The Busby Community High School was open for the Oglala’s Rider to shower. Now I can’t figure that, our young rider’s; back home for Yellow Bull Ti’wahe, it was very hard to get Davis Leigha and Cousin to take a shower; let alone put water on their face, even to take a shower, but here they are wanting to take a shower, Can’t figure this out.
This is the time for the Oglala’s and Cheyenne riders to make their coop sticks, that will be given to those, who are at The Battlefield of the Little Big Horn, most coop sticks are given to the their own family. Some families have their coop sticks from the beginning of the ride.
The Coop stick are a standing tradition for the Little Big Horn Ride memorial Horse Ride, our young Oglala’s Riders are preparing to touch the Warrior staff that will be held by me. As they run their horse toward where I stand on the 25th day of June, this the day of battle.

It is coming to the evening, it time to do the honoring the of Little Big Horn Horse society; who will honored four of the Little Big Horn Riders, Francis Chubb Thunder Hawk, Victoria White Hawk, Northern Cheyenne Woodrow and Eric Kills Night.
We selected additional Little Big Horn Riders from the group. Genevieve Lone Hill, Alvin Parker, Darrell Mesteth, Marvin Goings, Steve Brewer Jr, and Stanley Brewer Jr.
We called all on Rides to stand for our Hunkayapi Grandmother Jenny Parker, she cried as we stood and offer her our Warm Hand Shake. The women of the Little Big Horn Riders gave hug to Unci Jenny Parker.
We lit the Camp fire sang songs and dances, remember; that there will be a big day for us, everyone feeling was good, now, it time to call it a night. For the young riders they enjoyed the large camp fire “bond Fire”.

6/25/2014

It is a good day to die, Hoka ! A warrior shout, Now that our horse are saddled and ready “Hoka” “A Warrior shout” It is time, again an elder speaks, we must remember our relative’s, who fought for us to lived and still we must not forget those who gave their lives, so that the Americans can see that we aren’t going away, without a fight to survive, for the future Native Lakota’s and Cheyenne.
We load our horse into the horse they are to be taken to the park, so we travel to the site of the Little Big Horn Ride Battlefield, our Warrior staffs are in front there will be no scouts.
We arrived at the park now we paint our horse and smudge our horse and a prayer is offer by our elder Chief Mel Lone Hill. He gave instruction how the charge will be, we have photographer who will have flying camera, to take pictures as we charge the Point where I will be standing.
As usually Delores has fears for the Shetland Riders, they ride small ponies, she hope that the big horse riders will see them.

We arrived at the Battle Site, the Oglala’s and Cheyenne riders are setting up, now the drum began to sing the song of The Little Big Horn Battle Lakota song. This the signal, now I can see the first group of riders to charge, I have the warrior staff to be touched by each rider, who will count that as coop on the battlefield. A few of the young riders touch me, with their coop stick, I said Hey, but I know it is fun, they smile as running their horse back into the circle.
Now that the Charge is completed, they Oglala’s and Cheyenne Riders line-up in row to walk their horses toward the drum and to our Wakan Wicasa “Medicine man” Wilmer Mesteth, who will for the first time prays with the riders Cunupa, I made this sacred pipe to bring the Lakota Riders together in spirit. Now the Canupa song is sung, the Canupa is load with tobacco, and place where will pray.

After the prayer was said the Canupa was smoked and the victory dance has begun for the Oglala’s and Cheyenne Riders.
Now are commitment is finished for the years of 2014, we are all ready talking about 2015 AND 2016 which will be 140th year of the Little Big Horn Battle. Hoka! A warrior shout. All the shake each other hands, it is good feeling to be Oglala’s and Cheyenne.

6/26/2014 Travel Day Back Home

It time to depart Cheyenne Country, this is the most sad moment for us, we traveled together, and we had to over-come or adapted to traveled environments; many mechanical problems traveling from Pine Ridge and while, we made journey to the Little Big Horn Battle Field. We took care of those who fell and had injuries during our travels.

Now, we as The Little Big Horn Memorial Riders truly and spiritually have embraced our relationship as Oglala’s and Cheyenne as we have traveled, together, most of all, we took care of our health by share our meals with each.

Hoka, we started our travel following each other toward South Dakota and to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Home are bust, it this moment inside oneself the feeling to travel together, we have each other in mind and the excitement and heighten not knowing what is ahead of us.
First stop is to get fuel at Ashland Montana and on to Rapid City, South Dakota, we gather a few nut and berries (Snacks) at the Stop. Everyone arrived and fuels up, those who are done waited, and we must travel together for it is a hot long day. We will experience tire problems for sure, we can help each other change the tire along the way and go on.

Now we are on the way to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are bust. Hoka Hey A warrior Shout!.
We have manage to save a little extra funds among the families to buy a meal at a fast food place called Hardees. The Young Riders enjoyed the meal while us older rider, are feeling good inside as long as the young feel good, so do we too. Hoka!. It was a band of Oglala’s who pulled in from the Prairie, like the wind.

Hoka! We leave this Fast Food Place Hardees, this will be last stop, we will began to split and going our own way, most live on the west part of the reservation. We drive onto the Interstate highway, now it is the test for The Little Big Horn Riders, we lost each other but, reconnected at Hermosa, South Dakota, is our Gateway to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


We gathered; Hoka and we leave again, “finally home”, it is truly now over The Little Big Horn Ride for the Yellow Bull Ti’wahe.
My reflection: we are committed to The Little Big Horn, The next generation with without funds, we as Elders Riders are getting ready for the next year. For me what is the new T-shirt design going to be 2015 and what will the design for the 2016, which will be the 140th year of the Little Big Horn Memorial Horse Ride?
My Prayer: Oh! Tunkasila Wopila for the safe travel and blessing of good health, for us and our horses. We asked that you give blessing to those generation who haven’t been able to be among us in this future. Blessing for those who have survived and were force to surrendered and give blessing to our women and children, who were killed at the Wound Knee most all our traditional leaders who were tortured and ship to prison by American’. We offer blessing and prayer for those American’s, because we are the people of compassion. Oh!
Mi”tukuya’oysni
We, The Little Big Horn Riders have pledge to continual, on what counts most of all, we will remember, those who fought and lived and those who fought and died until we make our spiritual journey. Hoka Hey! “A warrior shout” Le’ mi’yelo Maza Su


 
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