Indigenous riders travel by horse to 'bring home the children'
A group of Indigenous riders trotted off the Wahpeton Dakota Nation Friday morning on a journey of reconciliation and healing by horseback.
The "Bring Home the Children" ride is meant to bring healing to communities who have lost children to residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the foster care system.
The journey is 600 kilometres from Wahpeton to Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, and riding the horses is symbolic according to organizer Neil Sioux.
"No matter where that horse is, it always finds its way home," Sioux said. "We want to use the spirit of that horse for our children to find their way home."
Sioux says during the 13-day ride, the riders will stop in the six communities QBOW Child and Family Services works with. The riders will be welcomed by ceremony and prayer in the communities and Sioux said anyone is welcome to join in.
This ride is the first of its kind, according to Sioux, and is inspired by a similar ride that takes place in Minnesota. The ride in the U.S. encourages healing after a number of mass hangings of the Dakota people took place in 1862.
"To heal we have to forgive those injustices, we have to forgive the government," Sioux said. "Once we forgive those systems then we can truly heal and we can truly move forward proud knowing who we are. That’s what this ride provides."
The riders are expected to arrive in Wood Mountain on August 13.