Dakota 38 + 2

There has been a ride on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota every year now since 2009. Each winter, not matter how brutal the temperatures or the winds, these riders saddle up and make the trek across the prairie for a cause they believe in. One that moves them at their very core.

Nearing Pipestone

The Dakota 38 + 2.

Passing on the Staff

The ride is open to anyone at any stage of the journey. People come from all over the world to take part. Each leg of the trip, each day, the riders and their support team come through a different town in the hopes they might connect with an increasing number of people willing to open their hearts and minds to the mission. One of remembrance but more importantly of healing and of forgiveness.

Ride Near Pipestone 2

Riding out of Flandreau 2

We are blessed the ride comes through our area. This past year, the Cowboy went for the first time to help shoe and trim horses for the group over at the Flandreau Indian School. It was the first I had ever heard of the ride. We didn’t talk much about it at the time. Months later…

Through the snow

The Dakota 38 +2 documentary http://bit.ly/1cJDUui aired on South Dakota Public Television and by chance, we happened to be doing something we rarely take time to do. Watch TV. We’ve talked a lot about it since.

Steam

The story of the Dakota 38 + 2 is incredibly powerful in and of itself.

But the ride that happens now each year in memory of those lost so many years ago, it is moving. For me, I want to know more. I want to better understand the divide between the Natives and non-Natives in my new home which no one seems to hide or act like it doesn’t exist. I want to help bridge our communities wherever there is a chance. I want to understand what it means to help everyone heal. I want to better understand the Native American culture, all of the different Native American cultures for that matter. I want to better understand a piece of my own family history I’ve only ever seen written on my birth certificate, better understand the culture of the tribe the Cowboy’s family is enrolled in here in South Dakota and better live many of the values of a people and culture that for far too long have been cast aside.

Lone Rider

I’m grateful for even the few lessons I’ve learned from the documentary and the few moments I was able to spend with the group this year. The riders, their support team, could not have been more welcoming. More open. More inviting, willing to talk and to let some stranger in a Prius follow them for just one small part of the ride.Riding Highway 34

Advertisements

Rainy kickoff ..

We’ve both been on the road and thawing out from too much time in the cold and the rain .. so I haven’t had a chance to really type much.  Or very well, anyway.  And I’m about to start working to get the kiddos fed while the guys get out the door so – just a few quick observations from the past 24 hours.

……………….

I’m not sure how long he’s been holding clinics..

But for quite a few years now, ‘twelve years maybe’ he says as I ask him this morning, the Cowboy travels to wherever he’s asked or hired to go, and he hosts roping clinics.

We are in Minnesota this weekend for his first clinic of 2012 .. and while all it’s done is rain since we arrived, the guys are making the most of it.

Since it’s at a dear friend of the Cowboys .. in fact, the first weekend we ever met in person, he was staying here to hang out and rope .. we’re all in tow.  His kids.  My daughter.

While the kids love to ride and try their own hand at roping when they go with their dad .. yesterday, we spent a lot of time on ground, running around.  Driving around in the Gator.  Chasing the dogs.

And at the mall.  While usually the two of them are happy to stay and throw their own rope, they preferred going to the mall where it was warm and dry .. and there are lots of fun rides.

The guys stayed and played in the rain …

We’re all hoping for better weather today .. but everyone is getting ready to roll rain or shine.