On December 24th and 25th, Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands hosted the Future Generations ride (Omaka Tokatakiya) – known for the past 23 years as the Bigfoot Memorial Ride – of Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, and Cheyenne River Reservations.
The ride consists of 300 participants (over 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 December 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 our agencies work together to accomplish our 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.
For more information, go to the Future Generations Facebook page or see the story on the ride that appeared in the Rapid City Journal at the link below.