This year marks the 128th anniversary of the killing of Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull), who was killed on December 15, 1890. The death of the revered leader shook the oyate and started a domino effect that ended in mass murder at Wounded Knee.
In the aftermath of Tatanka Iyotake’s murder, a group of Lakotas fled from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and traveled south near present-day Bridger, to the home of Mnicoujou naca Spotted Elk (also known as Big Foot). Spotted Elk was a revered leader and it was his guidance, consolation, and protection that the grieving Lakotas sought.
Fearing arrest for his people, Spotted Elk accepted an invitation from Oglala Chief Red Cloud, and led an exodus to the Pine Ridge agency; however, the group was intercepted by the 7th Calvary at Porcupine Butte. The Calvary escorted the group to Wounded Knee Creek and the next day on December 29, massacred the group, including Spotting Elk.
Every December during the annual Big Foot Memorial Ride, horseback riders retrace the route that Lakotas took after Tatanka Iyotake’s murder, starting from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and ending at the Wounded Knee Massacre site. Runners then make their way back to Takini, as survivors did in 1890.
The following schedule of the horseback ride and run is scheduled to reflect the historical timeline of the horrible events that led to the Wounded Knee Massacre and the subsequent return of the survivors:
December 15 Leave Sitting Bull gravesite, arrive at Timber Lake
December 16 Leave Timber Lake to Opps Ranch
December 17 Leave Opps Ranch to Green Grass
December 18 Day of Rest
December 19 Green Grass to Jensen Ranch
December 20 Jensen Ranch to Cherry Creek
December 21 Cherry Creek to Bridger
December 22 Day of Rest
December 23 Bridger to 4 Corner
December 24 4 Corners to Big Foot Pass
December 25 Big Foot Pass to Red Water
December 26 Day of Rest
December 27 Red Water to Red Owl, Kyle
December 28 Red Owl to Wounded Knee
December 29 Wounded Knee to Pine Ridge, run starts to Interior
December 30 Run from Interior to Bridger
December 31 From Bridger to Takini, where a feed and presentations by elders will occur.