Unity Riders plan to ride from Sioux Valley to Hwy 1 on Saturday, June 5. Members of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation and others are seeking to pay respect to the 215 children buried at Kamloops.
News at the end of May of the discovery at Kamloops Indian Residential School has brought fresh waves of pain to First Nations peoples.
Travis Mazawasicuna said in an interview, “I like to keep moving forward,” but, he said that this news “triggered a lot of stuff.” His own father suffered all his life from his experience at residential school. He turned to alcohol, it wrecked the family and it was Travis’ grandmother who raised him.
It was only recently, shortly before his father’s death, that father and son found reconciliation. That came when his father began to share stories of childhood trauma from the residential school that he attended.
Travis said he was grateful to, near the end of his dad’s life, find out what virtually took his dad out of his family life. “I felt robbed of my father, all my life.”
The Unity Ride will begin Saturday morning at the Pow Wow grounds on Sioux Valley with about a dozen horses and riders participating. They will ride up to the PetroCan station at the junction of Hwy 1 and Provincial Hwy 21, near Griswold. The ride is expected to arrive in the early afternoon.
Unity rides are held when there’s a significant issue that the Indigenous communities wants to bring to people’s attention. These rides are part of a healing process as well, part of the Dakota people’s spiritual practice.