Our annual signature event, the Indigenous Wisdom Gathering & 4 Directions Ride, came to a beautiful close on Monday - read on for a recap of the first two days of the event!
Reconciliation is beautiful and necessary work - but it is complex. Sometimes, the most challenging step is the first. And yet, that is where the transformation begins.
Last Friday, the 2023 Indigenous Wisdom Gathering kicked off in Eagle, CO as part of the town's annual Flight Days celebration with a 4 Directions Ride. Riders from the Lakota Nation, the Diné Nation, Mountain Trekkers Back Country Horsemen and the local Colorado community came together to traverse mountain routes and engage with one another across lines of difference - and sameness.
Along the trail, barriers broke down and divisions melted away, and those first, brave steps of reconciliation were taken: A handshake with a new friend before checking saddle cinches for trail-readiness, a chat about best practices for crossing a creek on horseback, a laugh and a smile as a Pine Ridge youth wittily quipped "Shouldn't they be teaching you how to STAY on a horse?" after a Colorado rider fell gracefully, just like her trainer taught her - these are the humble first steps that move reconciliation forward.
Across generations and cultures, riders found a common sense of purpose, and rode as a united front into Eagle Town Park, welcomed in by the powerful sound of drumming and traditional singing shared by the crew from United Indigenous Dancers. Check out the livestream of the welcome ceremony HERE!
A similar story of connection and shared purpose followed during Saturday's Indigenous Wisdom Gathering festivities: in the small and friendly mountain town of Eagle, strangers came together to raise a 26ft council tipi in ceremony with Tipi Raisers' cultural and spiritual advisor Darryl Slim. See footage of the tipi-raising HERE!
Other activities on Saturday included an appearance by the Tipi Raisers horse herd and a local youth rider in the Flight Days Parade alongside a float featuring United Indigenous Dancers (UID), a teaching session on Lakota horse-painting led by Joseph Medicine Robe, a showcase of traditional dancing by the team from UID, and storytelling in the tipi.
We are immensely grateful to the local Eagle, CO community and the individuals from the Northern Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arapahoe, Anishinaabe, Oglala Lakota, Hunkpapa Lakota, Yaqui, Tlingit, Diné, and Apache tribes who connected with one another at this event and took the first, important steps towards reconciliation.
Deep gratitude to all who brought this event to life!
Stay tuned next week for a recap of the second half of this four-day event.
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