Saturday, June 10, 2006

Honoring Warriors From Both the Past and the Present - New York Times

"Where are your lands?" a trader once taunted Crazy Horse.

"My lands are where my dead lie buried," the Sioux chief responded.

About 200 people crossed that rolling prairie on horseback last week, riding from Nebraska to South Dakota in a four-day tribute to honor all military veterans and the revered Crazy Horse.

"It was a way to say thank you to our warrior culture," said Charles Brewer, 40, of Pine Ridge, S.D., who organized the ninth annual Crazy Horse Ride.

Most of the riders were children and teenagers from the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux tribe. Others came from Chicago, New York and Germany to take part.

Mr. Brewer, a mechanic who also raises buffalo and horses, said he wanted to pay tribute to war veterans, including three of his uncles, who reflect Crazy Horse's courage and strength.

For Gilbert Mesteth, 51, of Slim Butte, S.D., this year's ride took on a special significance. He was riding alongside his daughter, Jennifer Deon, 26, of Rapid City, S.D., who served in Iraq for six months in 2003. "That's a very big sense of pride for me," Mr. Mesteth said.

The ride began Monday at Fort Robinson, Neb., where Crazy Horse was killed in 1877.

Riders camped near Hay Springs, Neb., where the chief's body was placed in a tree for his wake. His burial site remains hidden, as elusive as the great chief himself.