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Mendota Mdewakanton Newsletter


The Riders in Mankato

December 27th: From Chuck.

I arrived in Mankato on Christmas day at about 6 pm. I missed the afternoon arrival of the riders, but got there in time for the evening event. When I got to the conference room, there was a Native young lady that was singing a Christmas related carol, it was just about over by that time, so I don’t know who she was or what she was singing. There were a couple of speakers that came on and spoke of the ride, Sheldon Wolf Child was one of them and a guy from Canada. Sheldon covered some of the history and the Canadian spoke of the support from Canada and then went on to talk about abstinence from alcohol, etc.

The riders were then called up to form a

circle and they had a Pipe Ceremony, led by Arvol Looking Horse. Then Jim Miller asked the Canadian guy to be the MC for the give away. Jim Miller thanked the many people that supported the riders all the way from Lower Brule to Mankato, he mentioned the support from the people from Howard, South Dakota when they were in the middle of a raging blizzard and one guy risked his life to get hay to the horses and how the people came forward to feed them and gave them a warm place to stay the night. At one point Mark Johnson mentioned Stephanie DeRuyter and the support that she and some of the others gave in the food that was prepared for them while in Pipestone. This was also said when Mark and I were just having a chat and he thanked the people that did all that was done while in Pipestone, he couldn’t remember all the names.
A number of people were called up to receive recognition and a gift for the support to the riders and what the ride was all about. I received a really nice blanket.

December 26, the people gathered at Land of Memories park at 9:30 to wait for the runners who were running from Fort Snelling to Mankato. It was quite a sight to see all the horses and the 3 guys that had full eagle feather war bonnets (Arvol Looking Horse and a guy from Canada the third I don’t know). They had the horses in a circle and people were also in that circle. They smudged all the people and horses then had a prayer ceremony. Sheldon Wolf Child then gave another talk while waiting for the runners arrival. We had to be at the hanging site by 10:30, and the runners had not arrived yet so we all went to the hanging site. It was amazing to see all the horses in single file being led by a police escort. This is on video, I didn’t have a chance to get it on camera, it all moved so fast.

We got to the hanging site and again all were in a circle as best as could be done considering the way the place is set up. Prayers were said, sacred songs sung and a reading of all the men’s names that were hung was done in the Dakota language. It was pretty emotional for me and the lump in my throat grew big, and tears welled in my eyes. Then we were instructed that this one church was going to serve lunch for everyone, you should have seen when the horses and riders left the hanging site. The whooping and galloping of the horses as they rode away to the horse trailers that were parked a distance away. Amazing!!! is all I can say.

I really have to respect all those that were on that ride, to endure all the terrible weather, snow and freezing cold temps with super low windchills, blizzard conditions and finally the last day of decent temps.
Chuck Derby

18th Dec. Yesterday the Riders reached Pipestone, they had a police escort coming into town and then did ceremony close to the Three Maidens at the Monument. They then went to eat.

I was told by those who were there that it went off like clockwork everything fell into place. There was more than enough food and helpers to serve the food. What is left is being taken to Ruthton for lunch today, this is an extra stop, but will be needed no doubt.

I know that those who came out to watch them arrive, saw a sight that they won’t ever forget, I know of more than one peson who had tears in their eyes. The horses were extentions of the riders, or was it the other way around?! Proud horses carrying proud, yet humble men, women and children, (yes the children rode as well, what a wonderful experience for them,) on the path of a dream of one very humble man, Jim Miller. A dream he had to follow through with because as he himself says, ‘If you don’t act on it, it can become a nightmare.’

I know that those who helped to pull this together had a wonderful experience themselves, and that bridges have been formed and friendships forged. People were tired and went to their sleeping bags early, either at the Little Feather Center, with the wood burning fire lulling them to sleep, or the American Legion where the aroma of food and good company lulled them to dreamland.

This morning they are again eating at the legion, probably as i write this from my computer in England, and will be setting out in the snow for the next stop. I hope that they will get the same welcome at the other places they will stop at. I expect they will, don’t you?

Again thanks to those who prepared food and helped serve, I will mention some of them here but I know there are more that I don’t know about. Alice for the soup and frybread, Stephanie for all the cooking, donations and co-ordinating she did, Chuck for the use of the center and the food and setting this experience up to start with, Marge for helping me with updates, for food and for all the extras she did, Roxanne, Sheila, Cindy for donations of food and help, Ellen for the coffee and good wishes, Deb & Russ Raaf for all their help with the horses and the food, Solomon and Monica for the turkeys, Amy and the Shrine for help, Loann Bosma from the Thrift store for opening it and donating items of clothing etc to the riders. Dan Delaney for the escort, The home schoolers for their generous donations, Mylan Ray for organizing the radio interview. I know I am forgetting people and I am sorry if I have forgotten you, but my thanks goes out to all of you for making this so special for everyone involved. You see we are all related.

NEW: I have to say again thanks to everyone for coming together as you have, and I have to say to all the people who joined this group thanks as well. I told them about you all on the Blog they have, I’m sure they will be pleased to know that people worldwide have joined to support them as well.

From something that we thought was going to be small when we first heard about it a number of months ago, to the huge coming together of people worldwide, the whole thing is just amazing! It is how things would have been in America had the 1862 history not happened. I have said for years that the relationships between Indian and settlers was fine in the Morton/Lower Sioux area before the government decided to starve the Dakota out. Had it have been left to the People relationships between them all would have survived in a good way. 1862 drew a map for the way Indian and non-indian saw each other afterwards and it spread westwards.

This ride has been left to the People, and all are coming together, Indian and non, this time it is spreading east. Lets hope it continues to spread around America and around the world. This is just a start. The healing of the People (meaning all of us) has begun.

Mitakuye Oyasin. We are all related.

The riders are now in Flandreau, and are staying at the Indian school. There are 50 horses and 40 riders although more are expected to join them tommorow. They will be in Pipestone around 2pm on the 17th, and the food will be served around 4 pm IT of course.

Off the subject but relevant as well: a few of the riders have to go back to Crow Creek due to their grandfather freezing to death in his house. Unlike the rest of America, in Crow Creek they are allowed to take electric meters away during the winter if the bill isn’t paid. We expect this was what happened. Something needs to be done about that.

Dec 15th: Silas has put a short video on the website please go check it out, as you will get to see some of the ride and some of the riders.

Meeting at the Little Feather Center Dec. 14 2008.

We also had a very productive meeting. Thanks to Deb & Russ Raaf, the horses will be taken care of, these people are animal people and have horses too. The idea as of now is to use the fairgrounds horse barns to house the horses. They will have water troughs and a heating element to keep water from freezing and will have grain for the horses. They also have a horse trailer in case its needed to transport a horse in case it may become injured or ill and will have their barn available for any horse that is injured or ill.

Deb said that she will have a large roaster full of scalloped potatos, a container of chile, lasagna for the evening meal. Breakfast she will have eggs, pancakes, and eggbake (scrambled eggs/potato mix..I think thats what it is), Amy said she too will have something for breakfast. Trevor will supply the syrup.

Sounds like coffee, juice and hot choclate will be available. Deb said that her dughter & friend will bake some cookies, cake and maybe rice crispies bars. Amy said that the Shrine will donate paper products, cups and plastic ware.

Deb & Russ want to help in anyway they can. They will make a trip to Sioux Falls to get the paper products and ‘to go’ boxes so we can send food along with the riders, or if they want the food to be hot, we can make sure its hot and I volunteered to follow the riders later when they want the food delivered to them along the way. That may be at Ruthton.

The follow up meeting we should have a better idea of the amount of food needed and how many people to serve. We can discuss with the riders people when they get here, as to how they want to get the food to them when they are beyond Pipestone. The way its looking there will be plenty of food so we can utilize the left overs for the next days meal.

I may have missed something so when you talk to Alice, maybe she can give you any info that I missed.


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