The 27th annual 6-day, 400-mile Fort Robinson Spiritual Run was last week with more than 60 youth from the Northern Cheyenne tribe taking part, assisted by about 30 volunteers and chaperones.
The run followed its traditional route from Fort Robinson to the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Black Hills, and finally the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.
It commemorates the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak, when a band of Northern Cheyenne captured in Nebraska after fleeing their Oklahoma reservation in an attempt to reach their homelands in Montana made an armed escape from Fort Robinson.
This year’s observance began on Sunday the 8th with a Day of Education, described as a day of reconnection and learning featuring Native speakers, activists, artists, athletes, and culture bearers from across the country.
The actual run began on Monday the 9th from the re-creation at Fort Robinson of the old barracks where the Cheyenne were being held in 1879 and the starting point of the outbreak.
Organizers say the run honors the sacrifice and lives of the Northern Cheyenne ancestors; creating pathways for healing from intergenerational trauma while building bridges between cultures to create a greater respect for and understanding of diversity.
They say it instills in the Native youth a sense of pride, greater self-esteem, a deeper respect for their cultural identity, and a sincere appreciation and connection to both their homeland and to the value of life itself.